Taxi Drivers Demand Crackdown After Savage Attack

TORONTO, Feb. 17 /CNW/ - A savage attack on a taxi driver has sparked an outpouring of sympathy and anger from fellow drivers who are demanding a crackdown.

In the latest of a string of assaults against drivers, Khalil Talke was stabbed repeatedly by an attacker on Monday. Mr. Talke is recovering at Sunnybrook Hospital.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Khalil and his family," said Sajid Mughal, Itaxiworkers Association President.

ITaxiworkers and the Ontario Taxi Workers Association are demanding tougher penalties for violent acts against taxi drivers and a closer working relationship with city police.

Taxi driving is one of the most dangerous professions, Statistics Canada reports. Drivers are extremely vulnerable, given they work alone, carry money, and are exposed to the public.

However, the Ontario government says basic safety and workplace insurance laws do not apply to taxi drivers. Drivers are excluded from health and safety legislation and from Workplace Safety Insurance Board coverage.

"It is unfair that taxi drivers are treated differently," said Mr. Mughal. "Drivers like Khalil who get attacked should get help. We should come to the aid of the injured, not abandon them."

Conflicting municipal and provincial laws mean drivers often face poverty when they are injured. Drivers are not allowed to hire a replacement driver, they are not covered under the WSIB, but they must continue paying expensive fees or lose their licenses.    

Taxi associations want the city to lift the ban on replacement drivers, and are urging the province to ensure basic safety prevention measures are in place.

The associations also urge all taxi drivers to remain vigilant and not take any customers if they feel they may, in any way, compromise their safety.


For further information:

Randy Collins, 647-522-6318

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iTAXIWORKERS Association

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