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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Getting around when Disabled

I find this to be one of the most frustrating aspects of having a Disability, I'm in the position of still being able to walk, albeit quite slowly and not necessarily safely at times and I fatigue quite quickly these days, most of the time I don't even use a walking stick, vanity plays a part in that no doubt. Sometimes you just need to visit a store or government department or bank to purchase or sort things out with accounts etc. I have a disability parking permit for now anyway, I have moved to a new council area so who knows if they will grant me one again when I apply, I'm not a very confident driver these days though.

What this blog is about is Taxis or Cabs as they are also called, those at times very handy vehicles the public can "flag down" on a street or order them by phone or even online these days, in the past I mainly used them after a night out on the piss (alcohol). Now though, they are at least a monthly service I need to access for a Drug Trial I am doing, the best thing is that for that Drug Trial I get free Cab Charges to pay for the trip there and back that is paid for by the company doing the trial. I also have a half price Taxi fare card as well,  you need to use that card sparingly because a one hundred dollar trip sill costs me fifty dollars, money I don't really have, but the card still comes in very handy occasionally.

What really pisses me off though is when you only need to go a few kilometres, the drivers get quite angry, I never hide this fact when ordering them, they don't need to take the job if they don't want to, yet they do, seems to me they have no right to whine once they have accepted the job! I mean I don't whinge when the air in the Taxi is thick with their body odour that burns the nasal hairs, or they are on the phone for the whole trip speaking in their native language to some far away country, quite a while ago now they had to pass a law to stop the drivers displaying their religious icons, I don't particularly care about religion one way or the other, but don't fucking ram it down my throat in the enclosed area of a moving vehicle, that was a welcome rule that the government enacted.

I came to the conclusion one sunny day whilst needing a cab to return home from the Drug Trial that I needed to rethink how I would handle Taxi travel in the future, so I went on a slow quest of really talking to the drivers and "sussing" them out, seeing what sort of person they were etc,, religious beliefs, social beliefs and the like, after doing this for about three months at least, I stumbled upon Sam, not his real name, more a shortened version of it, he was an immigrant from Iraq, he was humble, didn't preach about religion and was a family man trying to make a buck to feed his family and was very grateful to Australia for accepting him and his family into this fine country.

Sam an Assyrian, in Iraq, was a Pianist, he speaks about 5 languages and has a wonderful family from all accounts, he does the right thing by me and I help him out when I can if he is confused about something as an example I helped him find a fishing charter boat for a day out fishing in Port Phillip Bay, he speaks English quite well, easily understandable, on the odd occasion he doesn't understand something so I help out with the translation. I only use him for getting to the Drug Trial and back again, I so much dislike travelling in Taxis I will wait a couple of hours for Sam to pick me up and take me home after the visit, sometimes he is just too far away to come and get me so I need to run the gauntlet and access the the pool of drivers that are ready to pounce when a job goes out over the airways, they jump at the chance of a fifty dollar fare.

So if you need to be using taxis regularly find one that suits you, suss them out, most will jump at the chance of even semi regular jobs, even moreso if the fare is decent of course. The trip is so much more relaxing when you have a Cab driver you trust and can have a chat too, the journey goes so much quicker as well. Sam is the type of driver that will help the elderly and disabled get to their door if they need that help. The good drivers are out there, you just need to persevere and find the good ones amongst the rabble and there is a lot of riff raff driving taxis there's no doubt about it. There are professional drivers then there are the ones who don't take it seriously at all, avoid the latter if you can.

By the way, I used to drive cabs briefly in Alice Springs, so I have seen both sides, driving cabs in Alice Springs was quite the experience, not for the faint hearted, I think my old official Taxi company shirt still has the stench attached to it like a stain you can never remove lmao, people who have lived in "The Alice" will understand what I mean :)


  1. Good blog post Darin, I have experienced similar treatment and can probably sing in Hindi now. I do think it is rude that the chatter is always on an iPhone in a foreign language to who knows whom, with one hand on the steering wheel. And the driving classes have still not explained the difference between turning right and turning left. Still some of the cabbies are nice and polite and do go out of the way to help - and I know which ones they are and tip them when I can.

  2. As I indicated, with the nice ones you should get there phone number and use that driver when you can book in advance, of course that is not always possible, but some times it is :)


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