Numbers tell a story. And the number emblazoned upon a Shanghai taxi’s dashboard tells a tale of experience — i.e., how long the particular driver has been in the job. The higher the number, the less time he or she has spent behind the wheel (numbers are issued in sequence, just like baggy green caps).
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as jumping in a cab to find a driver with a shiny new license placard and a very large number — something starting with “27”, for example — and receiving a quizzical look when you ask to be taken to Xintiandi. (Unless that look is actually a reflection of the driver’s disdain for Xintiandi, rather than his ignorance of its location. That would perhaps be fair enough).
So when we jumped in a cab the other day to find a driver wielding a dog-eared, sepia-toned license picture reading “000022” we knew we had a veteran on our hands. Not surprisingly, our trip was a pleasure. The bloke was a bit gruff and didn’t speak much English — hence his inability to gain more than one star over such a long career — but he certainly knew his zuo guai from his you guai.
Anyone encountered 000001 before?