Amidst Westlife’s 2000 classic “I Lay My Love on You” playing in the background, a Go-Jek driver was locked in a verbal duel with a very antagonistic passenger, who appeared to be clueless about how it works on ride-hailing services when passing through Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries.
Oh, and clueless about how cars have auto-locking mechanisms too.
Typically, passengers on private-hire vehicles have to be the ones forking out the extra charges when their rides go through ERP gantries during operational hours. The gantries are like automatic toll booths — meant to reduce road congestion by encouraging motorists to find alternative routes or just take public transport altogether. Drivers who do pass through the gantries incur additional costs, which could hit up to $6 for city-bound cars.
This passenger, as you’d learn from the seven-minute video, did not want to pay the ERP charges for the Go-Jek ride she took. Before we begin the play-by-play, here’s a possible synopsis of the incident.
- Lady wants to head from Bishan to Coleman Street and orders a Go-Jek ride.
- Lady gets surprised that she has to pay for ERP, believing that the driver is out to cheat her.
- According to the driver, he had asked her to direct him to an alternative route to avoid the ERP gantry. She did not know how, so they passed through the gantry. She refused to pay the extra costs incurred.
- Argument ensues. To settle the matter, the driver makes a move to the nearest police station (in Toa Payoh) so they both can lodge reports.
Without further ado.
0:08 – Driver says that he’ll be heading to a police station in Toa Payoh to settle their dispute. The passenger has her phone out to film their argument.
0:15 – Passenger accuses the driver of being out to cheat her. Driver says he’s not, explaining that ERP gantries are built by the authorities.
0:20 – Passenger says that she has never had to pay for it every morning. Driver explains that he would have taken an alternative non-ERP route if she knew the way.
0:30 – Passenger believes that the driver actually knows where to go to avoid the ERP, but chooses not to drive there in a bid to make her pay extra.
0:45 – Tired of explaining himself, he says that the easiest way to resolve the dispute is to head to a police station.
0:51 – She tells him to go to a police station in the city, but he just wants to get it over with at the nearest one in Toa Payoh.
0:54 – She declares that she won’t pay “a single cent”. He declares that he doesn’t even want her money.
1:05 – Awkward silence.
1:13 – Driver suggests that she should have taken the bus for a cheaper ride.
1:18 – Awkward silence.
1:41 – Passenger makes a call to someone. Driver says that he’ll be lodging a report with the police and the Land Transport Authority. He suggests her to do so as well.
1:53 – She moves to the other side of the backseat, away from the driver’s camera. Driver asks her why she’s hiding if she’s the innocent party.
1:59 – Passenger yells that he doesn’t have the right to record her on video. Driver points out her hypocrisy — she had been filming him earlier.
2:05 – Passenger speaks to someone on the phone. She tells the other party that the driver is a “rogue and dangerous person” who’s insisting on taking her to the police station.
2:11 – Driver scoffs at her claim, saying that he has her on video as evidence.
2:28 – Passenger grouses on the phone that she has to pay the extra costs of getting a ride from Toa Payoh to her intended destination at City Hall.
3:25 – Passenger puts the other party on speakerphone for the driver to speak to.
3:40 – The identity of the person on the phone (with a female voice) is unknown. Phone Person asserts that the driver has placed his passenger in a “dangerous” situation. Phone Person claims that she is currently tracking their location.
4:01 – The driver says that he has an in-car camera to record everything that went down.
4:19 – Phone Person demands that the driver listen to her. Driver refuses, saying that he doesn’t even know who she is. He asserts that he’ll still be heading over to the police station.
4:41 – Phone Person demands again that the driver listen to her. Driver refuses again, because he doesn’t know who the hell she is.
4:52 – Phone Person tells him that he has no right to “take (the passenger) hostage”. “You’re causing her to lose her freedom,” Phone Person declares. Driver says he’s not taking anyone hostage — why would he head to the police station if he was, he insists.
5:04 – Phone Person orders driver to let his passenger go. Driver says he will, as soon as they reach the police station.
5:24 – Driver reaches a “police station”. Phone Person threatens to report him to the authorities.
5:27 – Turns out, the driver actually arrived at an Aetos Security station. Immediately, the passenger jumps to the window and tells an auxiliary police officer that she was kidnapped. The driver asks the auxiliary cop directions to the nearest police station.
5:34 – The auxiliary cop tells them to calm down and asks them to explain the situation one by one.
5:39 – The driver goes first, speaking to the auxiliary officer in Malay. “She’s taking a cab ride and she wants to avoid the ERP. I told her that you can’t avoid the gantries if you’re heading to town. I told her that if she doesn’t want to pay the fare, we’ll go to the police station to resolve the matter. Now she’s accusing me of kidnapping her.”
5:53 – The passenger then tells the officer not to listen to his side of the story. She asks him to get another officer down to help.
5:57 – The auxiliary officer tells her that the place is not a police station. He directs the driver to head a neighborhood police center nearby.
6:05 – The driver thanks the officer. Passenger attempts to open the car door and goes absolutely hysterical upon finding that it was locked.
6:09 – She demands that he unlock the door. Notice that her phone remains in a call, with Phone Person hearing everything that’s happening.
6:12 – Her hysterics continue, shouting out the window that the driver has taken her hostage. Driver is confused but calm.
6:13 – She finally manages to get the door open and gets out of the car. Driver says to the officer: “You see? She’s claiming that I took her hostage.”
6:19 – “ARE YOU CRAZY?” she yells at the driver from outside his car. “YOU LOCKED THE CAR DOOR,” she continues. The confused driver and the officer explains that it’s an auto-lock feature.
6:44 – As the lady continues to go bonkers, the officer explains to her that the driver hasn’t taken her hostage and the door was simply locked by itself.
6:47 – The lady then tells the officer that the driver refused to let her leave earlier after disagreeing about the fare. Again, she insisted that he locked the car doors intentionally. Again, the officer had to explain about auto-locked doors.
6:58 – The driver then asks her why he’d go to the police station if he wanted to take her hostage.
7:02 – The best line of the video arrives. “IS IT BECAUSE I’M CHINESE?” she asks, playing the race card.
According to an update by the driver, she hailed a cab to flee the scene. The Aetos officer tried to stop her to get her particulars, but she refused to give them. The driver was advised to make his own report and was promised support by Aetos if he needed their help in the case.
When contacted, Go-Jek informed Coconuts Singapore that the matter has been concluded with a “fair outcome” for the driver.
“Go-Jek takes all complaints from riders and driver-partners very seriously. We were able to quickly investigate this incident using the evidence provided and have spoken directly with both parties. A fair outcome has been reached with the driver partner and we are of the view that the matter is now concluded.”
This article, A play-by-play of the hysterical dispute between a Go-Jek driver and his ‘kidnapped’ passenger, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!