Taxi Driver Calls for Shields in All Cabs
It started out as a typical fare for Mohamed Sourour. He picked a man up in the Gerrard Street and Jones Avenue area shortly after eight o’clock on Wednesday night, little did the 25-year taxi driver know, he would soon be fighting for his life.
“He got in and I started driving him. He asked me to take him to Islington and Lakeshore area. I took him there and he said ‘go a little farther’ and eventually he told me ‘this is the street ‘ and ‘turn left’.”said Sourour.
Sourour says eventually he pulled into a driveway.
“I just stopped the car. I thought that was the end of the trip and then this guy just hit me in the head several times.”
The hits were actually a knife being driven into the back of his head.
After wriggling out of his seat belt, Sourour was able to escape his attacker by running out of the taxi. That’s when the suspect took off in the taxi. A suspect was arrested and charged the next day. 18-year-old Tyler Duhamel is facing three charges including assault with a weapon.
Meanwhile, taxi drivers like Sourour are calling for more protections for those working in the industry. One idea Sourour would like to see come into effect is making barriers between the driver and the backseat passenger area mandatory in all taxis.
“If the shield was there, this guy and I would have been separated and this would not have happened.”said Sourour.
iTaxi Workers Association, a Toronto taxi union is also calling for the city to put a bylaw in place that would allow cabbies to charge fares upfront based on estimates. The meter would still run, but the difference would either be paid back to the customer, or the customer would have to pay the overage.
The Association also wants tougher laws for those who attack taxi drivers, and is asking City Council to approve a special task force made up of police officers and those from the taxi industry.