I was so stressed
Cabby who crashed into another taxi says passengers yelled at him
It was 1am yesterday and the cabby had just driven two irate passengers to the wrong place.
Even as he offered to waive the fee, the two men continued to yell at him.
Mr Toh Chwee Boh, 54, eventually dropped them off at Pasir Ris Drive 12, way off Geylang, believed to be their intended destination.
As he drove off, he said his TransCab taxi accidentally bumped into the rear bumper of a stationary CityCab in front of him.
He was about to stop and apologise when, instead, he accidentally stepped on the accelerator, he said.
Mr Toh is believed to have hit the other cab four more times, but he claims he cannot recall the number of times he rammed into it.
The next thing he knew, his vehicle had overturned and he was trapped inside.
Yesterday, Mr Toh told The New Paper that he had been affected by the verbal abuse of the two passengers.
But how did he get so stressed that he hit the other cab five times and then overturned his taxi?
Mr Toh, who became a taxi driver in 2005, said that he had suffered a head injury in a car accident in June 2012.
He could not recall what had happened then.
He claimed the accident left him with memory lapses.
He could not work for about a year, and started driving again only earlier this year.
Mr Toh said that he had driven two passengers to Pasir Ris at about 1am yesterday.
"I had taken them to the wrong location," he said in Mandarin. "They became very angry and scolded me repeatedly.
"I offered to let them get off without charging, but they continued yelling at me. I was very stressed out."
DROPPED OFF MEN
He then pulled up behind a yellow CityCab taxi and let the two men out.
He initially said he could not remember what happened after that, but later said his vehicle bumped into the back of the CityCab.
"From what I saw, the damage was small. It wasn't serious," he said.
He said he then accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake.
All he claims he remembered next was his vehicle speeding forward and overturning.
"I was trapped inside and I couldn't open the door," he said. "I was scared I couldn't get out."
He was rescued by four passers-by, he said.
Mr Toh suffered minor cuts on his fingers.
He said he did not intend to bump into the other cab.
He also claims his head injury does not affect his concentration on the road.
"I have no choice as this is the only job I can do. I have three children to provide for.
"What I can do is to drive slower and to go only to places I am familiar with."
Even so, he admitted that he often drives passengers to the wrong location.
When that happens, he said he would not charge them for the trip.
Because of such lapses, Mr Toh, whose shift is from 6pm to 1am, said he earns between $30 to $80 a day.
That translates to $1,500 a month. Taxi drivers reportedly earn about $2,000 a month.
"Right now I don't know what's going to happen. The $100 I had in the vehicle is gone.
"I don't even know where the taxi was towed to. I'll find that out from my friend later," he said.
Criminal lawyer Rajan Supramaniam said Mr Toh may be liable for a hit-and-run offence.
"At the point of impact with the other vehicle, he should have stopped," he said.
Police said they received a call at about 1.05am yesterday and are investigating.
I was trapped inside and I couldn't open the door. I was scared I couldn't get out.
- Cabby Toh Chwee Boh
Cabby hit my taxi again and again
He was waiting in his taxi, listening to music and thinking that the night was going well.
But the tranquillity was shattered when another taxi hit the back of his vehicle at about 1am yesterday.
Even before Mr Han Jin Kwang, 48, could react, the red TransCab taxi hit his vehicle at least another four times, before speeding off and overturning.
Yesterday, Mr Han told The New Paper that the incident happened when he was waiting for customers at Pasir Ris Drive 12.
"It was a peaceful night. I was waiting in my taxi near the industrial estate for the factory workers to get off their shift," he said.
It was then that he noticed a red Toyota Wish pull up behind his yellow CityCab taxi.
Two passengers alighted from the taxi, but he did not pay much attention to them.
All of a sudden, the other taxi lurched forward and hit his rear bumper.
"When the taxi first hit my vehicle, I thought it was just an accident.
"But when the taxi hit me again and again, I knew something was wrong," said Mr Han, who added that his vehicle was pushed across a traffic light junction.
It was only then that he regained his composure, released the handbrake and stepped on his accelerator.
"Even as I was driving, the other taxi kept very close to me.
"I was so scared at that point of time. I've never offended anyone, but I thought the driver was out to kill me," he said.
He then moved to the right lane and the TransCab taxi sped past him.
Mr Han stopped to check the damage to his vehicle and called the police.
He also noticed that the other taxi had stopped some distance away.
When he drove towards it, he realised that the taxi had overturned.
There were passers-by helping the driver out, he said.
When Mr Han confronted the driver after he was pulled out, he said the driver looked lost.
He made a report with the police and his company, CityCab.
When contacted, a TransCab spokesman said that their taxi driver has so far not made an accident report.
As for Mr Han, he said he is taking two days off work.
"I couldn't sleep after I finished work. I am still quite affected by the incident," he said.