Taxi driver resigns over “escalating” attacks

Cab-driver, flickr

Cab driver, by Justin Shearer

A taxi driver from Croydon has resigned over safety fears, following a spate of attacks on taxi drivers by passengers.

An employee of Road Runners, a taxi firm based in North End, West Croydon resigned yesterday morning after becoming concerned about the increasing number of attacks on staff. The company director James Wilkinson said today: “The situation is escalating. We used to have the odd assault on a driver but now it’s one or two per week.” He added that another employee has taken two weeks holiday after an attack a few weeks ago, when passengers “put a knife under his neck,” demanding all the cash in the cab.

Other incidents at the firm include a driver who was thrown from his car, which was then stolen and dumped. Another driver was beaten up by three people when he tried to collect his fare.

Road Runners operate around 10,000 journeys per week, with a large portion of the traffic at weekends.

Police have told the company that links to gang activity are being explored, with a possible correlation between the frequency of attacks and journeys made to Streatham.

The company management recently began fitting many of its drivers’ cars with safety shields to protect drivers from violent passengers.

However, Mr Wilkinson has been left in confusion over the legality of safety shields. The Public Carriage Office (PCO), which is controlled by Transport for London, regulates and licenses taxicabs and minicabs.

Despite Mr Wilkinson conducting discussions with the PCO they have been unable to confirm whether the shields affect the status of the cab licenses for his drivers and enquiries from ELL did not clarify the issue.

Mr Wilkinson stressed his concern that more of his taxi drivers will resign, and the ones who remain may be breaching guidelines by attempting to improve their safety.

Anyone with information about the attacks should contact Croydon Police on 0300 123 1212.

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