The acting president of the Halifax Taxi Driver’s Owner’s Association wasn’t surprised to learn a local driver allegedly had a sawed-off shotgun pointed at him from a passenger early yesterday morning.
What surprises Douglas Brine, a 44-year taxi veteran, is incidents like this don’t happen more often.
“Our job is more dangerous than a policeman’s and we have no one there to back us up,” Brine told Metro yesterday.
Halifax RCMP say the incident took place around 3 a.m. after the driver picked up a fare at the McDonald’s on Windmill Road in Dartmouth and was taking him to Cole Harbour.
When the driver told the 28-year-old passenger he was having trouble finding the address, he pulled over and police say the passenger pulled out a shotgun from under his jacket and demanded money from the cabbie.
Police say the Bob’s Taxi driver then fought with the man, grabbing the shotgun and striking him over the head. The cab driver was able to subdue the passenger until police arrived to arrest him.
Police took the suspect to hospital, where he was treated for head injuries. The cab driver received an injury to his hand.
“I always say give it up because it’s not worth it,” Brine said when drivers face an incident like this. “But the guys are frustrated now and they’re out there trying so hard to make the money, now it’s coming to the point (where) they can’t give it up.”
Brine added “this is how bad the industry is getting … Guys are taking anybody just to make a dollar — taking a chance because our industry has just gone flat” due to too many taxis on the road.
As for making taxis safer, Brine said more needs to be done, but added “taxi drivers don’t have the money to secure their cars … and there’s nothing from the city to help.”
Suspect in court
The 28-year-old man arrested by Halifax RCMP in this case is due to appear in provincial court this morning, charged with attempted robbery.