Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hail the Sonata! And the power of social media.

Hail the Sonata!

I had -- in an earlier blog entry -- disapproved of the choice of the Hyundai Sonata as a taxi type because it has a turbocharged engine in a compact saloon car body. This is what a Sonata looks like:

These taxis are quick, acceleration-wise. As a result, when I am driving on the roads, I often find their drivers doing things like revving to pull ahead in merging lanes or darting about in traffic -- just because they could!

Taxis need not be stodgy and slow but I do not think it's a good idea to let them have the edge when it comes to acceleration capability. Ironically, however, I'm prepared to champion the Sonata now because of this story in today's ST (Oct 22):

The ubiquitous Sonatas (and the few remaining Toyota Crowns) are now the only taxi types with the lowest flag-down of $3.20. Even then, the story above says they are being replaced over the next few years.

But what is galling -- from the story above -- are the excuses given for hiking the flag-down rates for the other taxi types. ComfortDelgro chose not to comment, but another cab company had the cheek to say its taxi models are "more comfortable, safer and bought with higher COEs"! I have not found the Sonata uncomfortable when I had to ride in one, and what exactly does "safer" mean? Should not all taxis be safe, period? If not, they should be removed from the roads. So it comes down to "higher COEs". And it is the commuter who has to bear the cost?     

It gets more bizarre. SMRT said its Toyota Prius model was "greener and quieter". Again, tell that to a commuter who only wants to get from Point A to Point B.

As commuter Lau Sau Kuen said, people will generally not begrudge the higher flag-down for the limos and the maxi-cabs. But she got it spot-on when she said: "I don't know what justifies the higher fares for the other cabs." Indeed, they should all serve one purpose, whatever the model type: to carry up to four passengers in reasonable (non-limo) comfort with, if needed, luggage space in the boot.  

So maybe we should all vote with our hands and just "Hail the Sonatas"! They are still plentiful and easy to spot (see picture above).   


The power of social media

This ST story below (Oct 22) is satisfying because a call for help online led to the hit-and-run driver being investigated by the police. For better or for worse, it also shows the powerful reach of social media:

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