Abu Dhabi: “We don’t know why young women aren’t more friendly or don’t talk to us, whereas middle-aged and old women are the friendliest customers,” said a group of female taxi drivers, while sharing experiences of their several years spent driving in the capital.
They cater to only women and families and said they have never had any bitter experiences with the passengers. “Many women start friendly conversations with us. I have always noticed that most of them are at or above age 45,” said Rowena Onato, 46, a Filipino national who has been with Emirates Taxi for four years.
She said most of the younger women passengers, in their twenties and thirties, are reticent and do not have a friendly attitude, but she doesn’t know why. But other than that, they do not have any problems, said Onato.
“We don’t have any complaints, as we are trained to deal with all sorts of people,” she explained.
Onato and her friends spoke to Gulf News on the sidelines of an event titled ‘Welfare of the heel behind the wheel’ organised by the Indian Ladies Association (ILA) in the capital on World Humanitarian Day, which saw health awareness talks, a yoga session and distribution of food packets and hygiene kits to the drivers.
“We organised the event in line with the values of the Year of Zayed,” said Annu Chouraria, ILA’s president.
Echoing Onato’s opinion, her colleagues said that youngsters were often preoccupied during the journey.
“In my experience, women in their forties and above are very friendly,” said Ruth Akakabota, 36, a Nigerian working with Arabia Taxi for three years. “I think youngsters take you as a service provider — just a cab driver only. Whereas older women always ask about me and my family and appreciate our work,” Akakabota said.
Oyekemi Ganiyat, 30, a Nigerian working with Tawasul Taxis for six months, said middle-aged and old women treat them well because of their maturity and experience in life.
“They want to know about our life and our job as drivers, and always say ‘thank you’”, Ganiyat said. That courtesy’ always make a difference, she added.
Anyanwu Ibuchi, 30, a Nigerian working with Al Ghazal Taxis for two years, said she often felt that the young women have a competitive spirit. “Some of them are trying to prove that they are better than others!”
Interestingly, one old couple from a western country once tipped her $2000 (Dh7,340), after listening to her life story. “I immediately sent the money to my mother who wanted to start a small business back home,” Ibuchi said.
She added that the ill effects of junk food as explained by medical experts at the event were an eye-opener. Busy driving most of the day, most taxi drivers ended up consuming junk food, she said.