Taxi Drivers Demand More Security

After a recent string of violence towards cabbies, taxi drivers want more security including working surveillance cameras in their vehicles.

"Drivers are assaulted everyday for nothing," said Mohammad Shukur, Senior V.P. of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pa.

Shukur was just one of the speakers at a meeting this afternoon, held by the Taxicab and Limousine Committee (TLC) of the Philadelphia Parking Authority Board.

"I just want to mention today we are the ambassadors of the city, we bring the most important people in the nation with safety and security," said Shukur, who told the panel the drivers themselves have no safety and security.

Besides surveillance cameras inside their vehicles, drivers are asking the PPA for panic buttons that would link directly to 911. They'd also like to see signs inside the vehicles warning passengers that it's a crime to assault taxi drivers.

"There is a lot of signs against the driver, like if you do something this is the fine, but we don't see any big sign or something for the customers when they assault the drivers saying there will be punishment," said Shukur.

Drivers also want the PPA to set up some type of workers' compensation program for drivers who are injured on the job.

Philadelphia Consumer Affairs Director Lance Haver sat before the board and supported the need for more security and protection for taxi drivers.

"While I'm not a frequent cab rider, I do want the cab driver who transports me to be in good health, able to be attentive to driving and responsive to my needs. Drivers who have no source of income other than cab driving often are forced to return to driving after a robbery or assault before they are ready," said Haver.

Haver says it's a risk for all drivers when a taxi driver is on the road when they aren't at 100%. He also says stepping up security will be of great benefit to the city's tourist and hospitality trade.

"I fear every time there is a news story about a cab driver being assaulted or murdered, it hurts the image of the city and our region," said Haver. "If other cities mandate these protections, why should we offer less safety to our visitors?"

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