Problem passengers pose major challenges
Taxi ChroniclesSaturday, November 27, 2021
BY CANDICE HAUGHTON
THERE'S no doubt that when it comes to being a taxi operator one will have to face many challenges — sometimes on a near daily basis — and for Mandeville taxi driver Gary Dyer, interacting with passengers has oftentimes proved to be more difficult than one would think.
Dyer, who said he adheres to his belief of treating everyone he comes across with respect and dignity, told the Jamaica Observer that he tries to walk away from passengers in an effort to keep a cool head at times when he notices that interactions with these customers may lead to a dispute.
“Sometimes mi just drive dem out [or] walk dem out. Every day taxi operators have altercations with people because even since recently — day before yesterday [November 16] — I was just asking a passenger to put on his mask [and] an altercation come out of that,” said Dyer.
Dyer explained that he had just acquired a full load for his seven-seater Nissan vehicle when he noticed that one passenger was not wearing a face mask, which is required under the COVID-19 protocols imposed by the Government.
Dyer said he told the passenger to put on his mask but the man hesitated before finally complying.
But that was not the end of the issue.
“When mi stop, him never want to pay him fare and [when] him decide seh him a guh pay him fare, him actually was rude with it. Him mek sure tell mi point blank seh look here, mi no supposed to tell him fi put on him mask [as] he's a grown man [and] if him feel like fi wear him mask, him will put it on,” said Dyer.
Taken aback by the passenger's demeanour and what he said, Dyer stated that he was tempted to respond in a combative manner but, due to his many years of experience dealing with antagonistic passengers, he remained calm.
“Mi try fi deal with it as respectfully as possible, even though I'm only human and naturally you're going to react a certain way. But mi try fi just hol' mi composure and deal with them in the most respectful way because [in] nowadays society, the least little thing you say to a man, him say you style him and you disrespect him and him probably want do you something later on, or send him friend dem fi do you something,” he asserted.
Citing another incident a few weeks ago, Dyer argued that the court should not hold taxi operators liable for passengers who refuse to wear a seat belt.
“Mi nuh know why di Government want operators to enforce the law for dem because me now a operate my vehicle [and] a passenger come in and decide say him don't wah wear him seat belt... at any corner a police can pull you over and charge you,” Dyer lamented.
“Mi ask somebody fi put on them seat belt, them put on the seat belt [and] once the car come out of the park them tek off the seat belt and decide fi travel di rest of journey without,” Dyer said, noting that this sparked another heated confrontation that he had to go to great lengths to avoid.
“Dat a one a di tings mi nuh agree with di enforcers dem now, because them a go write me the ticket even though me have on my seat belt, and mi can't force somebody fi put it on because everybody a adult. The passenger may look at it and seh mi a diss him and wah tek it physically, because everybody have gun inna dem yah time here,” said Dyer.
Name: Gary Dyer
Age: 39 years old
Length of career: More than five years
Route: Mandeville to Land Settlement, Manchester