Despite Hiren Mohini's killing, Auckland taxi sector "too slow" to act

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Auckland, Apr. 3 (ANI): Despite the killing of Indian-origin taxi-driver Hiren Mohini in January and attack on at least 160 cabbies in Auckland in the past five years, the taxi sector in the region have not been able to put together proper preventive measures in place, according to the New Zealand Herald.

New Zealand's Transport Minister Steven Joyce is going to recommend to the Cabinet that installation of surveillance cameras should be made mandatory in cabs that operate in the country's cities and large towns in time for next year's Rugby World Cup.

In the Australian city of Perth, there was a 60 per cent reduction in attacks on drivers within a year of cameras being made compulsory in 1997.

But some taxi companies believe assaults on cabbies, often spurred simply by a desire to evade fares, can't be guaranteed with the installation of cameras which would cost 1000 dollars to 1500 dollars each.

An estimated half of the assaults on drivers are alcohol-related, and some drunks will be too impaired to notice the cameras, let alone regard them as a deterrent.

Joyce has also recommended the Government to also consider the mandatory fitting of protective screens.

Screens work because they prevent attacks, and this has been proved overseas, especially in the United States.

The reduction in assaults in Boston after their introduction was said to be as high as 70 per cent, while Baltimore reported a 56 per cent drop.

But some drivers seem to be in two minds about them. They say screens limit communication between driver and passenger.

They value interaction, particularly if it leads to the securing of a tip, the paper says.

But because of the unease of some drivers about them, it seems reasonable that their fitting should be optional, the paper concludes. (ANI)

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