As much as there are so many things I like to praise about this country, there are yet some things that I need to tar and feather.  Today, let’s examine and analyze the Korean taxi cab driver.  Korea produces some of the worst of them, I will attest.  As necessary as they are, they’ve become quite the necessary evil.  They all have some sort of complex.  Maybe it’s cause they are bitter, maybe it’s cause they are dumb…I don’t know, but it’s like they suffer from some King of the Jungle complex.  They are the masters of their tiny little domain….the taxi cab.  I’ve never seen so many that think that they are entitled to so much for the public service that they provide here.  No matter, it still doesn’t give them an excuse to be complete idiots. 


This one instance, I was in a cab where the final fare came out to 6,100 won.  I gave the cab driver a 10,000 won bill and two 50 won coins.  I thought, oh good…here’s a chance for me to get rid of these 50 won coins and get 4,000 won in bills!  He turned around and looked at me and said, “These are 50 won coins” and then gave them back to me (Keep in mind, this is the same thing as giving a casheier 2 nickles to make a dime at a cash register).  He then proceeded to count out slowly (in a John Malkovich-esq manner), three 1,000 won bills from his wad and then 900 won in all 100 won coins from his change bin.  I was in such shock all I could do was stare at him like a retard.  Now that I’m sitting here seething about it, I should have just thrown it back into his face and told him to give it to his mother or something.  I mean, this is just one instance, but definitly representative of their attitudes here. 


Another instance (and this one seems to be reoccuring) is cab rejection.  Now, I’ve lived in NYC (cabbie central) and have taken cabs in other heavily traffic-conjested cities around the world.  Nowhere, not once have I ever been rejected by a cab driver simply because he didn’t want to go where I was going.  What is that all about???  It’s like chicks who think they’re all that at some off-strip Hollywood nightclub.  Who do they think they are?  The economy is not doing that good enough to justify such °øÁÖº´ attitudes.  It’s like they don’t want to make money or something (or maybe just don’t know how). 


On many occassions,  I’ve gotten into a cab going the opposite direction of where I’m supposed to go.  He tells me I have to get into another cab across the street.  I tell him, “I know, but it’s negative 10 degrees Celsius out there.  I’m not waiting for another cab.  I’ll stay in here.  Just turn somewhere.  If you can’t then just take the next U-turn.  If you can’t do that then take a P-turn somewhere for Pete’s sake, I don’t care.  Just go cause I’m not getting out of this car”.  It’s like he not grateful for his customers.  Maybe he doesn’t want to sit in traffic.  Poor thing…


“Well I got news for you buddy.  Nobody wants to sit in traffic, but unfortunately this is what people pay you to do so suck it up!”


It’s especially bad at night when all the buses and subways shutdown.  That’s when they have total control over picking which customers they want and where they want to take them.  Kind of scary, but I’ll save those stories for next time.  (And why do they shut the subways down here so early in the first place?  It’s like Korea is really under some military curfew or something where the government controls everything through the Seoul Metropolitan Subway). 


As I explain my frustrations to friend and colleague, Mr. Kim, 45 yo Korean office manager, he replies, “I don’t like the taxi cab driver myself, but also they don’t think or need to think like fat-bellied capitalist pig like you”. 

25 thoughts on “

  1. Haha.  I’ve had the similar negative experiences with cabbies myself, especially the ones where the cabbies don’t want to turn around.  That really baffles me, especially since it would probably increase the customer’s fare.  Crossing a Seoul street is usually a ten-minute ordeal, I’d rather pay more and sit in the cab.  Cab rejection, I hate that one the most, but it was explained to me that the driver is finishing up his shift and will only go in the direction of their HQ.     

  2. i’ve riden with a few really nice taxi drivers, but yeah, about 70% of them aren’t exactly the friendliest.and some of them drive in circles too if you don’t know the directions.get the book i mentioned earlier!

  3. I was once told by this cab driver that I was too lazy to take a cab rather than walk to where I was going.  I also had one ask for my number b/c he wanted to learn English.  It’s Korea…
    Hope you’re having a great week so far! Oh, and you can visit me at work and play at the playground anytime! 

  4. taxi drivers in korea. my brother and i had an interesting encounter with one on our way to yonsei a few summers ago. he definitely touched on the korean war and remaining prejudices against japan. he also managed to tell us his whole life story in 30 min. taxi drivers have secret lives. i find them interesting though.
    wow, so you’ve been in korea for over 8 months. my brother just left for seoul last week. i hear it’s cold over there.
    well, anyway..keep sharing your stories and observations of korea. it’s interesting to read from a 2nd generation point of view.
    best, joy

  5. whoa, this is a side of you i’ve never seen.  ranting rob.  who knew?   btw, i call your korean cabbies and raise you a chinese cabbie. i’ve had a cab pull away before all our party got in so two friends had to literally run alongside the cab and jump in while the cab was moving.

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