Many tend to imagine cities to be a place where people keep to themselves and strangers don't talk to strangers.
The fact is that in any given day strangers spend time with strangers, sometimes alone, in a closed room on thousands of occasions. It is called a taxi ride.
Some taxi drivers like to share their views on current political issues. Some passengers like to chat with their cabbies about their daily routines.
Some rides are almost silent except at the beginning when the passengers announce their destinations and at the end when the drivers tell them the fares.
It is rare, but every once in a while things turn out wrong.
Last month a passenger was almost frightened to death by a taxi driver in New Taipei City after a dispute over the volume of the radio.
According to the passengers' account, the cabbie rejected her request to turn down the volume and asked her to get out, saying that he had the right to do whatever he wanted in his cab.
But as she left the taxi driver lunged at her and demanded her to pay up.
The scared passenger ducked behind a motorcyclist who was passing by.
The cabbie did not give up, as he cursed and insulted the passenger until she finally yielded and gave him the NT$70 (S$3) taxi fare despite the fact that taxi drivers cannot charge for service they prematurely terminate.
Sometimes it is the taxi drivers who find themselves victims. The most obvious case would be the recent scandal involving famous entertainer Makiyo. She and her friend allegedly beat their driver almost to death after an argument.
While the media focused on the details of the celebrity case, the Makiyo event is just the most prominent example of the danger taxi drivers face in taking intoxicated passengers.
At the moment these passengers and cabbies in danger could only count on themselves and on the good luck of meeting courageous passers-by or, like the Makiyo case, at least by having the aggression against them recorded by surveillance cameras.