As Western countries prefer cars, they have taxi; we Vietnamese prefer motorbikes, therefore we have motorbike taxi (or Xe ôm). To expats who used to live or travel to Saigon, it’s not a surprise when knowing that there are six millions motorbikes over a population of nine millions of Saigon. Of course, such xe ôm thing doesn’t really popular, but it’s the first choice after buses for normal people.
Xe ôm actually on its downing slope, problems such as rising fuel prices are killing their jobs by forcing Xe ôm drivers raise their fares. In additional, Xe ôm is supposing for the labor class, those don’t have their own motorcycle, but the numbers of people like that is lowering by the raising of the country’s economy.
So how do we address a man as a Xe ôm driver? Well, they normally sit on their motorcycle at any random crossroads and waving at you or giving out some sign if they see you walk alone.
Or take a look at this picture and ..
Back in the time, when we hadn’t had buses yet, xe ôm is the only choice for traveling in short distances. In that time, a motorcycle was very expensive, and it’s a very interesting job.
To expats who find themselves praying when riding on a xe ôm, yah, it’s not really safe, actually, it’s one of the most dangerous way to travel around. Xe ôm drivers mostly have low education and traffic safe is some thing too weird for them. But to Vietnamese, we take them as the most convenience way to travel when we’re being on a rush work.
Not all Xe ôm drivers are untrusted, as these guys, they arrest and deliver robbers to the police as well.
As you can see, they have uniform, being well organized and trusted.
My opinion, if you haven’t sure about the fare of the route that you’re about to take, say No to Xe ôm and just walk away from them.
SaigonStay – All the best a local friend can give you!