Being held at gun point is not something that any cab driver can prepare for but it’s common sense that gets them to safety.
Amanuel Zewengel, 57, an independent cab driver for 15 years feels that in order to be safe, a driver must exercise good judgment.
“I had a dispute with a customer and he bit me from behind and then held me at gun point. I did not fight him,” says Zewengel.
Kristine Hubbard, operations manager for Beck Taxi, states that incidents occur on a daily basis for cabbies.
“I believe a lot of unreported incidents take place everyday, such as [passengers] jumping out of cabs [without paying] to threatening drivers,” says Hubbard.
Beck Taxi operates over 4,000 cabs in its fleet across the GTA. Drivers have safety procedures set in place if they fear for their own safety. Each driver must attend a sensitivity training course to prepare them for on-road safety.
“Drivers are equipped with tools for conflict resolution, no fare is worth your life,” says Hubbard.
Cab driver safety is important for all drivers and the city has recognized that.
“The city has mandated cameras in all cars [and] emergency flashing lights on the rear and front [of the vehicle]. If the light is flashing it says to please call 911,” says Hubbard.
Two-way radios are provided to drivers to give them access to the dispatch office.
“We have a GPS in our vehicles which allows police to find a cab if a driver is in distress,” Hubbard said.
Cab drivers are providing a service and should feel safe while doing so.
“Scarborough is the peaceful area, I also live in the area, you have to know the area to be safe,” Zewengel said.