So who is really at fault here, the taxi driver or the passenger?

By now you’ve heard about the man who was filmed walking away from a taxi driver after vomiting in the cab. In the video, the taxi driver can be heard taunting the man and demanding to be paid only to eventually have S$10 thrown at him by the drunk passenger.

This incident which took place in the early morning of Saturday, 28 July then took a turn when the passenger lodged a police report later in the day against that same taxi driver. A photograph of the first page of the report has been making its rounds on social media.

In the report, the passenger detailed his recollection of the incident stating that he was put in the taxi by his friends after having too much to drink. At about 5 minutes away from his house, however, the taxi driver asked him to get out of the cab when he started feeling nauseous.

Report filed by passenger and his account on Facebook (Images from Alex Sim/Facebook)

The report and an account of the incident was posted on the passenger’s own profile which has since been removed. But even before his profile was taken down, the passenger received quite a lot of flack for making the police report in the first place with people saying that he was still guilty of fare evasion (the S$10 that he threw at the taxi driver was apparently not enough to cover the actual fare) and being rude to the taxi driver. There were many who took the side of the taxi driver:

Although the passenger has been receiving a lot of criticism from the public for his behaviour, he has also been receiving some support from the public who disagree with the way the taxi driver handled the situation. Specifically, people pointed out that the driver failed to drop the passenger off at his destination and that the whole act of filming the passenger while hurling insults and taunting him isn’t exactly innocent behaviour on the part of the driver.

According to the Land Transport Authority website, a taxi driver is not allowed to:

  1. Refuse to convey passengers without valid reason, when the taxi rooftop is displaying the “Taxi” sign. Taxi drivers must display the appropriate sign at the taxi rooftop, such as “Busy” or “Changing Shift” if he is not able to pick up passengers.
  2. Terminate the hiring of a taxi or require passengers to leave the taxi, without valid reason, before the passengers are conveyed to the destination.
  3. Overcharge passengers or solicit for passengers.
  4. Verbally insult, intimidate or harass passengers.

On observation of the video, the taxi driver definitely did #2 and #4. So I think it’s fair to say that both parties have behaved rather poorly in this situation. You could argue that ‘valid reason’ would include vomit but based on the video and the report, it doesn’t seem like the passenger actually vomited. In which case, I’d say ‘possible vomiting’ is not a legitimate reason.

Anyway, whether or not it’s one or both party’s fault in the court of public opinion remains debatable.