Taxi drivers urged not to carry weapons

  • Michael Fahy (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Taxi drivers arming themselves against would-be assailants would be a step too far, transport minister Senator Michael Fahy said — but other safety measures could be up for discussion.

Mr Fahy spoke in the wake of hard-hitting remarks from a cabbie injured earlier this month in an attack that occurred in his own driveway.

The senior suggested that taxi operators be allowed to arm themselves, among other security measures, but the minister said he did not support the notion of drivers carrying weapons.

However, Mr Fahy added: “In discussions with taxi industry representatives during the last year or so, the issue of protective screens has been raised both by me and the industry — although sporadically — and the consensus appeared to be that screens would take away from the ability for drivers to interact with passengers and share information with our visitors.”

Partitioning drivers from passengers has been suggested in the past when drivers have come under threat, and Mr Fahy said that if it turned out to be “something that the industry really wants”, he would be prepared to back the idea, given the different designs and intercom systems available.

“It does not necessarily need to be mandatory,” he told The Royal Gazette. “Let’s face it, Bermuda seems to be one of the last places where protective screens are not the standard. So it may very well be time to have that open conversation.

“In my view, safety for drivers is paramount, and I will consider this carefully if the industry wants to have that discussion.”

Equipping cabs with miniature security cameras was another option available to drivers, Mr Fahy said.

“It is always concerning when drivers are attacked and again I urge our taxi drivers to be vigilant and share information about incidents with the authorities.”