Linda Foster of Casino Cabs won the first runner-up award in the NSW Country Taxi Driver of the Year category.
Linda Foster of Casino Cabs won the first runner-up award in the NSW Country Taxi Driver of the Year category. JAY CRONAN

'Super cabbie' second best in NSW

CASINO super cabbie Linda Foster has taken out second place in the country category of the NSW taxi awards at a red carpet function in Sydney on Wednesday night.

NSW Transport Minister John Robertson presented Ms Foster with her trophy and $1000 cash prize at a glitzy harbourside hotel at The Rocks.

“I took my 17-year-old son with me and he loved it – it was his first flight and his first suit so he was pretty happy,” Ms Foster said.

“He escorted mum and was the perfect gentleman.

“It was so beautiful being flown down and put up for the night in five-star accommodations with harbour views.

“We had a lovely trip, the dinner and everything was really well done and it was nice to be recognised.”

The hard-working cabbie was walking on air yesterday and already knows what she’ll do with the money.

“In 22 days I’m going on a cruise to Vanuatu, so how perfect is that?” she laughed.

It’s the second year in a row Casino Cabs have featured prominently in the awards after Noel Schumacher took the top spot last year.

Organisers described Ms Foster as a model taxi driver who was ‘always punctual, friendly to customers, maintained the vehicle to a high standard and nothing was too much trouble.’

She was also commended on the close bonds she has developed with special transport students and passengers with disabilities.

“I always call them my kids,” she said.

“They look forward to seeing you and they’re always happy, it’s very uplifting.

“I hate having a day off, I’m sitting here now thinking I could be on that school run and I wonder if they’re looking after my children okay.

“I think my kids get a little bit jealous, they’re now 17 and 21 and I’ve being driving kids with disabilities since my son was not even a year old.

“It’s very rewarding in the sense that people with disabilities can’t access a lot of things.

“Having a wheelchair accessible vehicle and doing that sort of work gets them out and about – to doctor’s appointments, family functions and weddings which they probably wouldn’t be able to access otherwise.”

Over her 16 years driving for Casino Cabs, Ms Foster has seen the demand for special-access taxis boom.

“It’s amazing now in Sydney, they just go all day and they’re starting to do the same here now, too,” she said.

“In Casino and Lismore they are really becoming the mainstay.

“We take children in wheelchairs to school and disabled people to hospitals, and (the demand) just grows more and more every day.

“I spend most of my time with children, we play music and games and we listen to the same CD over and over again.

“The parents really depend on you – they know we’re going to be there, that we’re going to pick them up, and that we’ll look after them.

“You have a major input and get involved with the whole family. They look forward to seeing you because you’ve become a mainstay in their life.

“They know that I’m coming to pick them up and we try and keep them with the same driver on the same runs.

“I really do think of them as my children. I go to their birthday parties, special occasions.

“ I’ve been to the graduations of the ones who have gone through high school.

“It’s very special, just a lovely job.”

NSW Taxi Council Awards

Taxi Driver of the Year: Mr Frank Diab, Georges Hall

Taxi Driver of the Year 1st Runner up: Mr Holung Sonam Lama, Hornsby

Taxi Driver of the Year 2nd Runner up: Mr Chris Christofi, Randwick

Country Taxi Driver of the Year: Mr Ron Levis, Kiama

Country Taxi Driver of the Year 1st Runner up: Ms Linda Foster, Casino

Country Taxi Driver of the Year 2nd Runner up: Terry Hewson, Batemans Bay

Radio Worker of the Year: Mr Mohammad Rafi Shinwari, Mt Druitt

Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Driver of the Year: Ms Kim Leggett, Newcastle

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