2 days ago
20 December 2008
From the Melbourne Herald-Sun:
TAXI drivers have ended a city blockade after ugly scenes today, but vow to continue their protest over safety screens.
They called on the minister to change laws introduced this year that make it compulsory for owners to purchase and install safety screens, regardless of whether drivers want them.
Earlier, about 50 drivers were behind a related wildcat action that brought the Tullamarine Freeway to a crawl, with cars three abreast across the road from Melbourne Airport soon after 8am. Thousands of city-bound motorists were forced to crawl along behind them at just 5km/h, causing morning chaos along the airport-city link.
Full story here.
I’m with the Melbourne taxidrivers on this. The day they make me drive behind some sort of plastic shield is the day I stop driving.
On the face of it, it seems like a good idea. Keep the driver safe from violent passengers. He doesn’t have to worry that someone’s going to pull a knife on him, or try to strangle him with the seatbelt.
Or kiss him.
The way to deal with crazies is to have the police deal with them. The message a safety shield sends is that it’s okay to have a go at the cabbie, we’re just going to make it more difficult to get to him.
For my part, I relish the personal contact with passengers. Sure I’ve been worried about some of them, but nobody’s ever offered me violence or threatened me. On the other hand, I’ve had a few kiss me or shake my hand, and that means the world to me. It means I’m doing my job right.