Calls to report rude cabbies

HARASSMENT in taxis by drivers are a sad reality which women have at one point in time experienced, says Land Transport Authority general manager for technical and operations Faiyum Ali.

Mr Ali said such cases were rarely reported and when they were, victims lodged reports without the vehicle registration number.

“There are no accurate statistics of the number of incidents where cab drivers attempt to harass passengers since people rarely report such actions, and if they do they hardly ever know any information about the driver accused or his car’s plate number which makes it much harder to find him,” he said.

Fiji Taxi Association general secretary Rishi Ram condemned such acts and said such incidents should be reported so appropriate action could be taken.

“If such is the case, the public should report it because we don’t want these things to happen in PSV vehicles,” he said.

“As far as the taxidrivers’ code of conduct is concerned, the driver is to behave in an orderly manner so if a driver disregards these, then he could face the full brunt of the law.”

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali called on zero tolerance for such behaviour by taxidrivers.

“This behaviour needs to stop so women feel safe everywhere so they can go about with their daily business. I call on the authorities and taxi companies, taxi association and LTA that if any taxidriver has been accused that they hold these people accountable also,” she said.

Feminist, Roshika Deo said such acts were a part of the rape culture and it created fear among young women even in broad daylight.

“Street harassment is part of the rape culture and contributes to an everyday rape/sexual assault anxiety. So many girls and women avoid certain streets or places alone, even in broad daylight,” she said.

“We tend to also spend more time and money on taking different routes, or rather than walking somewhere instead of catching a taxi to avoid the honks, lewd comments on the streets.”

Fiji Police Force’s chief of operations Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu encouraged women who encounter such experiences to come forward and report them.

“PSV drivers should adhere to their code of conduct and make women, in fact all their paying customers, feel comfortable as they are paying for a service and should not feel harassed,” he said.

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