x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Mind your cab behaviour

I seemed to have developed a surprising new talent for being ejected from taxis. In the past month, I have been ordered to get out no less than three RTA cabs.

Having never been asked to leave a restaurant or disembark a plane, I seemed to have developed a surprising new talent for being ejected from taxis.

In the past month, I have been ordered to get out of no fewer than three RTA cabs and, though I haven't suddenly started barking directions at drivers or taken to wearing eau de skunk, there is definitely a change in customer service.

My first eviction notice was served when I attempted to go to a building in JBR, just 10 minutes from my home. I relayed the address to the driver, who, without acknowledgement, started the metre and sped off in the right direction. A minute later we had screeched to a halt in front of the first building of the complex and I was asked to settle the fare. When I repeated the name of the building and explained it was at the opposite end of the Beach Residence, I was accused of deliberately misleading the driver and wasting his time. He refused to take me any further, raising his voice and waving his hands at me - finally revealing that he didn't want to sit in the traffic he had glimpsed ahead. My second experience came as I made the short hop to the Mina Seyahi Beach Resort. As the crow flies, it's not a great distance from my house, but due to construction work, a kilometre of concrete barriers and six lanes of traffic, there is no way to make it there alive, save for taking a taxi. However, as my driver took a series of wrong turns at breakneck speed, with a terrifying disregard for his indicator, I politely asked him to slow down and offered some advice on the quickest route. This was a grave mistake and I was aggressively told to be quiet, ordered to pay and get out of the vehicle, which had come to a terrifying emergency stop at the side of a dual carriage way.

The most recent episode saw a simple jaunt to Festival City turn into a tour of the Emirates, with a missed exit taking me half way to Sharjah. Having finally arrived at my destination with no apology, nor reduction in the almost-doubled fare, I was reprimanded for only having a Dh500 note and a Dh50, which would have ordinarily covered the trip. As I scrabbled together shrapnel from the bottom of my bag to make up the balance, the bundle of coins and cash was refused by the driver. Instead, he begrudgingly uncurled a secret stash of notes and broke into my larger one, mumbling all the while "go idiot, go idiot". Late, carsick, ticked off and told off - it's high time to top up my Metro card.