Cabbie sick of attacks on cabs
CASINO cabbie Ashley Clark-Smith has had enough.
Attacks on his fleet of Casino Cabs vehicles have become so frequent he is considering blacklisting hot spots in Casino.
“Almost on a daily basis the drivers have to deal with fare evaders, some surly passengers arguing over fares, crazed road users, and being used as target practice by rock throwers,” Mr Clark-Smith said.
One taxi had to undergo several thousand dollars worth of panel and window repairs after rocks were thrown at it.
No sooner had it been repaired when it was damaged again when another projectile was thrown at it.
The taxi was carrying a passenger at the time who, along with the driver, was left badly shaken by the incident.
“It’s become an occupational health and safety issue for our drivers,” Mr Clark-Smith said.
“You have to look at the safety of the driver.”
Mr Clark-Smith said the hot spots were Queensland Road, Colley Park and near the Casino High School.
It gets worse at night when drivers have to deal with passengers who are drunk or on drugs.
“Our drivers have to deal with people who are high on ice,” Mr Clark-Smith said. “They have to be on the ball.”
Last December, a wheelchair-enabled taxi collided with a garden hose strung across a road in South Casino at chest height in the early hours of the morning.
There were no passengers in the taxi at the time, but the hose did extensive damage to the taxi’s roof.
Despite the problems, Mr Clark-Smith said driving taxis was still a great job.
“You’ve gotta love driving and you’ve gotta love people,” Mr Clark-Smith said.
“It’s like a big moving confession box, people tell you everything.”
Mr Clark-Smith is a second generation taxi driver. Hisfamily has owned Casino Cabs since 1977.
Taxis get their name from the 1891 invention of the taximeter, an instrument used to measure the distance and time a car has travelled.
Brisbane was the first to introduce the horse-drawn taxi to Australia. Hansom cabs were used until 1935 in Brisbane.
Motorized taxies were introduced in Sydney in 1906.
NSW has the most cabs in the country, totaling 6000.
There are more than 22,000 taxi drivers registered in Australia.