Off-duty cab driver enjoys pretending to be on-duty

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By SHI FU
Transport Correspondent

Zhou Daguo carefully scans the streets for potential fares to disappoint

BEIJING (China Daily Show) – “Look! You see him – that guy there? Now watch this, as I don’t slow down,” says Zhou Daguo as he passes a male in a business suit, cab light on.

As the man’s smile is replaced by a look of crushing disappointment, Zhou’s chuckle rises to a manic laugh. “That felt good,” he admits.

Zhou shares a taxi – but an hour before each shift is finished, he likes to travels to the nightlife and business districts of Beijing, and purposefully not pick up passengers.

He is one of dozens of local taxi drivers enjoying a new hobby, one that can only be translated as “hope fisting” (xiwan quan jiao).

“Last night I was in Wudaokou, and there were three students in the rain, trying to wave me down,” recalls a gleeful Zhou. “I slowed right down until I could look them right in the eye and smile – then I hit the gas and drove on.”

In the past year, the Beijing government has cut the number of cabs in the city from 60,000 to 50,000 with a view to reducing the figure to 40,000 next year. Many are wondering why officials are doing this, when the public is in clear need of reliable private transport.

Emeritus Professor of Urban Planning at Peking University Li Junghua thinks he has the answer: “They’re sadistic fuck-knuckles.”

In the meantime, a small cabal of cabbies is determined to enjoy their last few months on the job, by taking revenge on irritating pedestrians.

Chief among them is the ‘King Fister’ – ten-year Beijing cab-scene veteran Ai Jingjung, 45.

Ai takes delight in causing potential passenger to curse him out and boasts that, just this morning, he purposefully passed a heavily pregnant woman in clear distress.

“I did it,” smirks Ai, sipping from a jar of flower tea. “So what? The rear-view mirror Buddha told me to.”

Some pedestrians are failing to see the funny side, however.

As hooting drivers swept past him on a windy sidewalk Tuesday night, businessman Ben Chan refused to comment, instead choosing to drop to his knees on the tarmac and curse the angry god that created this cruel world.

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