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Foreign workers face taxi nightmare as driver allegedly demands extra S$30 for incomplete ride

Three foreign workers in Singapore had an unsettling experience in a private-hire taxi last Sunday.

Initially quoted $31 for two destinations, the driver later allegedly demanded an extra $30 or threatened to strand them.



SINGAPORE: In an unfortunate incident that unfolded last Sunday night, three foreign workers employed in Singapore found themselves in a distressing situation as they took a private-hire taxi home.

The ride, initially set at a fare of $31 for two destinations, took an unpleasant turn when the driver allegedly demanded an additional $30 after dropping off one of the passengers or threatened to leave them stranded.

One of the foreign workers, who goes by the name “Hoan Messi,” took to the Facebook group ‘Complaint Singapore‘ to share the harrowing details of their ordeal.

In his heartfelt post, Messi, who has been living and working in Singapore for nearly four years, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to live and work in the “Best Green Beautiful Country in the World” alongside kind people while saving money to support his family.

However, he recounted that last Sunday (10 Sept) turned into a nightmarish experience he had never anticipated.

Messi and two of his friends had just finished competing in a final football match organized by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for foreign workers with work permits and S Passes in Singapore.

The trio, exhausted and eager to return home before their workday, decided to book a taxi via a ride-hailing app TaDa from the 10 Penjuru area at around 10:15 PM.

They had booked a ride with two destinations: Orchard Road and Bedok, with an estimated fare of approximately $30.

However, their ordeal began when, after dropping off one of Messi’s friends at Orchard Road, the driver unexpectedly demanded an additional $30 to continue the journey to Bedok.

Messi and his friend were perplexed because the driver had prior knowledge of their booking with two addresses and a total fare of $30.

Nevertheless, the driver insisted that Bedok was “too far” and that they must pay an extra $30 to reach their destination.

According to Messi, the driver also repeatedly criticized the TaDa app, referring to it as “stupid,” and accused Messi and his friend of trying to deceive him.

“After that he cancelled the trip or finished something on the app and he didn’t bring us to bedok, asking me pay $30 to him for half way only! ”

Police advised passengers to pay in full and report to TADA later

Messi and his friend refused to comply with the demand, leading the driver to call the police.

During the 15-20 minutes it took for the police to arrive, the driver continued to berate Messi, his friend, and the TaDa app.

Upon the arrival of the police officers, they initiated negotiations with the driver, suggesting that the passenger pay only half the fare, given that he had been transported to only one of the originally intended two destinations.

Unfortunately, the driver remained unyielding in his stance, refusing to accept this compromise.

Consequently, the police officers recommended that the passenger proceed to pay the full fare upfront and subsequently file a report with TADA.

“It was too late 11:30 pm and we needed to go home for the next day working so I gave up and paid him $30, ” Messi said.

Messi concluded his post by contrasting this unfortunate experience with previous taxi rides, during which drivers had been kind and accommodating, even in situations like his friends’ getting sick after a night of drinking.

However, he shared that this particular driver allegedly accused them of having a strong odour due to their recent football match, and he used offensive language throughout the ordeal.

“He scolds us a lot as well, what kind of Service is it!? hopefully, you are not next his customer if will get really bad experience like me and my friends.”

Messi expresses utter shock at driver’s unusual behavior

In the comment section, Messi further emphasized that while he understood the fare was quite reasonable for a long ride like that, he was utterly shocked by the driver’s decision to drop them off halfway and berate both his passengers and the app as if it were his prerogative.

“Some more he already knows the address and the prices before he accepts. and he said me and my friends try to play him even though we didn’t do anything wrong”

A Facebook group member recommended that Messi report the incident to the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Meanwhile, another netizen speculated that perhaps the driver’s font size was too large, preventing him from noticing the second location before accepting the ride. However, they acknowledged that the driver’s behaviour and attitude were concerning.

Messi further clarified that he had already checked and informed the driver about their dual destination when they entered his car.

One comment suggested that when the driver demanded an additional fare, it could potentially constitute an offence of ‘Ply For Hire.’, which is a serious violation that needs to be addressed.

TADA says passengers Refunded, driver faces consequences for incomplete journey

According to MS News, a TADA spokesperson confirmed that they have taken action in response to the incident.

They clarified that the passengers have been fully refunded the S$30 they paid in cash for the incomplete journey, and this refund has been provided to them in the form of a voucher.

“We have provided guidance to the patron, emphasising that our dedicated channels are always open for direct engagement with TADA, should any future concerns arise.”

Regarding the driver’s account, a reconciliation of the S$30, which was received in cash from the passengers for the journey that was not completed, will be carried out. This will result in a deduction from the driver’s account.

The TADA spokesperson also noted that a formal cautionary notice will be issued to the driver. This notice reinforces the unequivocal policy that accepted trips must be completed, ensuring passengers reach their intended destinations as specified in their bookings.

“At TADA, we are committed to ensuring the safety and satisfaction of our passengers and maintaining the professionalism of our drivers, and we are actively working to prevent such occurrences in the future through continuous training and communication with our drivers.”

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I am always amused (in a bad way) that when refunds are given, it is usually in the form of vouchers.

To me, in a problem or complaint recovery situation, TADA should have refunded the $30 in cash. Do note these migrant workers would most likely not be taking such rides if they can avoid it; to save money.

I am sure they would have preferred a cash refund.