Taxi-driver Sociability Index

At the low end of the the scale, there is the “Grunter“. Greeting him/her elicits an “en” (rhymes with “ng”) – if you are lucky. Waiting for the question about where you want to go might lead to sitting in a stationary car all day. So to fill the silence and speed up the process, you end up blurting out the destination. Another “en” as a response – maybe. No other comments for the rest of the journey, no goodbyes, no thank you’s, no please take my taxi again. Silence. These dudes are not into socialisation.

Slightly more verbose is the “Greeter“. Greets you, asks you where you are going, gets you there and then might ask “cash/card” (you can pay for Shanghai taxis with a public transportation card), says thank you and goodbye.

Chatty” described the man/woman that says all that “Greeter” does, and adds in some additional conversation e.g. discussion about which route to take, pointing out other bad drivers on the road, etc.

Singer” might be “Chatty“, but also sings – either along to the current song playing on the radio; or unaccompanied.

Newby” is one of the new intake of drivers, usually from Chongming Island just north of Shanghai – basically they don’t know where they are going and you have to tell them how to get there. So they don’t say a lot, but as the passenger, you have to keep up the flow of directions. It helps to know how to get to where you want to go. Would be helpful to brush up on your Shanghainese at the same time, because that’s their dialect of choice.

Nosy” comments on your ability to speak Mandarin, asks about your nationality, how long you you’ve been in Shanghai – generally all the standard beginner Mandarin questions and answers.

Effervescent” is all of the above and enthusiastically jokes about your usage of the Chinese language, repeats all your directions/instructions with much hilarity, and wants to chat about anything and everything on the planet that you have no clue how to translate into English. It gets rather embarrassing to keep saying “So sorry, I don’t understand” at regular intervals during the conversation, but agreeing to everything could get you into a whole lot of trouble when you have no clue what is being said. Although trips with “Effervescent” are very entertaining, they can be very tiring!


2 Responses to “Taxi-driver Sociability Index”

  1. 1 saigon shopper
    July 18, 2011 at 15:43

    I love your description of the taxi drivers! You have them down to a T. (And by the way, I still think you are pretty good at telling them exactly where you want to go AND answer their questions, despite your protestations to the contrary….)

    • July 18, 2011 at 20:55

      Thanks for the vote of confidence – most of the time I just guess what I think they are saying – I am sure they think that some of my answers are totally off the wall!

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