axi drivers block a main road with their vehicles, during a protest near the parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan. PHOTO: AP A few years ago, my old Nissan was at the workshop again and I needed to use public transportation but was dreading opting for a rickshaw or a taxi . After returning to Pakistan several years back, I had relied on them to get around for a year or so until I could afford my own vehicle, and it had been a distinctly unpleasant experience.
Many of drivers I had ridden with were rude, dishonest, broke traffic rules and carried the sort of body odour you’d expect from someone driving in the sweltering heat for half a day. Save for one, none of the taxis I had used had working air-conditioning or an operational meter so that a client could pay an honest fare without haggling. The vehicles were kept in such disgusting condition that I can distinctly remember coming home after each cab ride and having to change my clothing because of the gunk I had absorbed from the seats, which were carrying a concoction of sweat and cigarette smoke from having not been cleaned for years.
I say […]