Dispute arises between taxi driver and passenger over short trip duration

824

17th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) A video has been circulating depicting a male passenger engaging in a heated argument with a taxi driver. The incident occurred when the passenger took a taxi from the airport to the Asia Expo. It is alleged that the taxi driver became disgruntled after waiting for two hours only to receive a short-distance fare. As a result, a verbal altercation ensued between the driver and the passenger. Eventually, the passenger decided to disembark midway through the journey, but a small incident occurred when the driver accidentally dropped the money intended as change onto the back seat. The driver then nonchalantly remarked, “Apologies, it slipped. Please take the money.”

The driver’s actions sparked strong dissatisfaction from the passenger, who responded by leaving three Hong Kong dollars as a sarcastic gesture, mocking the driver. While some netizens questioned whether the passenger had intentionally provoked the situation by recording the incident, many others supported the passenger’s actions and criticised the driver for his behaviour, labelling him as being in the wrong. They argued that since the driver could return to the airport within 40 minutes, there was no need for him to be dissatisfied. Some even speculated that this was not the first time the driver had encountered such a situation and that passengers had resorted to recording their interactions.

The video, which has garnered attention on Facebook, has a duration of approximately two and a half minutes. It showcases a male passenger who intended to travel from the airport to the Asia Expo via taxi. At the airport taxi stand, an employee responsible for facilitating passenger pick-ups handed the driver a short-distance ticket, which allowed the driver to skip the queue if he returned within 40 minutes. However, it appears that the driver, who had waited for two hours before receiving the passenger, was displeased with the short duration of the trip to the nearby expo. Consequently, a confrontation ensued between the driver and the passenger, who recorded the incident with his mobile phone and later decided to disembark.

In the video, the driver can be heard initially suggesting, “There’s a railway, you know,” to which the passenger responds, “But there’s a taxi here.” The driver then expresses his dissatisfaction, saying, “Do you know I’ve been waiting here for two hours?” The passenger quickly retorts, “What does it have to do with me that you’ve been waiting for two hours?” and adds, “You can return in 40 minutes.” In an irritated tone, the driver dismisses the passenger’s concerns, stating, “What I said had nothing to do with you. You don’t have to take responsibility.”

The argument between the two individuals escalates further, with the driver reproaching the passenger, “Does it matter to you whether I return or not? Learn to mind your own business.” In a mocking tone, the passenger imitates the driver, replying, “Does it matter to you whether I mind that you’ve been waiting for two hours? Learn to mind your own business.” The driver then asserts, “It doesn’t matter to you! Let me tell you, you don’t have to listen.” The passenger finally suggests, “If it bothers you so much, I won’t take the taxi,” to which the driver retorts, “Are you saying that you can refuse if you don’t like it? It’s the first time I’ve heard of that.” He continues, “I’m taking you to your destination. That doesn’t mean I can’t express myself. I haven’t used foul language or caused a scene.”

Eventually, the passenger decides to disembark midway through the journey and hands over HK$27 as the fare, requesting the driver to provide the exact change. Seemingly still furious, the driver throws the money onto the back seat when the passenger doesn’t accept the change promptly and quips, “Apologies, it slipped. Please take the money.” At that moment, a police car stops by to inquire about the situation. The driver deflects, saying, “I dropped the money.” Subsequently, the driver reluctantly hands over the change to the passenger, accompanied by loud berating, saying, “Take it!” However, three Hong Kong dollars fall onto the floor of the vehicle. Enraged, the passenger exclaims, “You can use that three dollars to buy medicine. Take it!” He then exits the taxi and walks away, while the driver, before driving off, continues to insult him, shouting, “If your hand is injured, don’t play around!” The video concludes at this point.

The video has sparked intense discussions among netizens, with opinions divided. While some individuals question the passenger’s motives, suggesting that he intentionally instigated the situation by recording it, many others express support for the passenger’s actions and condemn the driver, claiming that he was completely at fault. They argue that the airport staff had already provided him with a priority ticket, which exempted him from rejoining the queue if he returned within 40 minutes. Therefore, they believe the driver had no valid reason to be dissatisfied with the short trip.

Furthermore, some netizens speculate that this incident is not an isolated case and that taxi drivers often encounter similar situations where passengers record their interactions to protect themselves. They argue that this practice has become necessary due to the potential for disputes and confrontations with drivers.