Abused cabbie 'unprofessional'
A man accused of racially abusing a Pakistani-born taxi driver in Invercargill has received support from an unlikely source - another cabbie.
Invercargill man Gregory Shuttleworth subjected Invercargill Taxis driver Tariq Humayun to a torrent of racial abuse that was captured on video and has gone viral.
However, Paul Cardoso, a Portuguese-born cabbie who is a shareholder and driver for Invercargill company Blue Star Taxis, says the remarks made by Mr Humayun and the act of filming the incident on his iPhone were unprofessional.
He said he believed Mr Humayun may have instigated the incident by his actions.
"The issue was a result of poor professional standards by inexperienced drivers in the service industry," he said.
"As a driver, it is my job to get people home safely, not to provoke a racial outburst as this driver did. Such statements as ‘are you drunk sir' and ‘put your seatbelt on' will always create conflict when alcohol is involved."
The veteran taxi driver said no-one should be subjected to racial abuse but he did not believe a professional taxi driver should be video recording a customer on a device that was not a company-installed camera.
The incident was an embarrassment to the taxi industry, he said.
Mr Cardoso said he was also an immigrant cabbie who moved to New Zealand from Portugal and during his 18 years as a taxi driver in Invercargill had never been on the receiving end of any racial tirades.
Invercargill Taxis director Safinah Mohammed defended Mr Humayun yesterday.
She said her driver behaved in a "very professional" manner under difficult circumstances.
"He felt unsafe and was all alone in a very rural part of Invercargill. He warned the passenger he was being filmed," she said.
The driver was entitled to ask the passenger to put his seatbelt on because he was moving around, she said. The company's No 1 priority was the safety of its drivers, she said.
Ms Mohammed declined to comment on whether it was appropriate for a taxi driver to film a fare on a personal camera.
New Zealand Taxi Federation spokesman John Hart said Invercargill Taxis was not a member of the federation but it was of concern that a taxi driver recorded a customer with his own device. The federation had strict guidelines that only official footage from a company security camera should be used to deal with complaints and incidents.
The release of footage was controlled by laws under the New Zealand Land Transport Act.
The appropriate way to deal with any incidents inside a taxi was to report it to the manager who then could pass footage on to police, Mr Hart said.
Passengers were required by law to wear seatbelts but taxi drivers were not responsible for enforcing the law for adults.
Seatbelts on children under 15 years old were the responsibility of the driver.
- The Southland Times