Taxi drivers fed up with violence, vandalism

Therese ColmanAugusta Margaret River Times
Margaret River Taxi's Daz Wood and Sue Loughton said if antisocial behaviour continues, they will no longer operate their services.
Camera IconMargaret River Taxi's Daz Wood and Sue Loughton said if antisocial behaviour continues, they will no longer operate their services. Credit: Therese Colman

Margaret River Taxis says it will cancel operations if vandalism and violent behaviour from customers continue.

The call comes after months of increased antisocial behaviour towards drivers and vehicles, including a van allegedly stolen and taken for a joy ride last month.

Night shift manager Daz Wood said taxis had more than a dozen addresses on a “black list” and staff were scared for their safety.

“Almost every weekend we experience violence, vandalism and destructive behaviour from primarily locals,” he said.

“There isn’t a driver on night shift that’s worked for us in the past 18 months and has felt 100 per cent safe at night.

“The worst comes as the pubs close and people spill out onto the street.

“Police have done their best to investigate some issues, but there isn’t much they can do unless there’s significant damage or injury.”

Base operator Sue Loughton told the Times incidents included vehicles being kicked, rocks thrown at windows, racial slurs at drivers, spilled alcohol, vomit, physical violence, threats and customers running away without paying.

“We’re not mucking around anymore,” she said.

“It’s on the board that if this bad behaviour continues, there won’t be the Margaret River Taxi company anymore.”

Ms Loughton said three drivers had quit in a matter of weeks, and the business was “barely hanging on” to other drivers.

Rob “Taz” Simons from Taz’s Taxis said he had also experienced antisocial behaviour from local customers and said a security guard should be on duty at the main street taxi rank on weekend nights.

“We’re just trying to get you home safe, we just want basic respect... respect is what’s lacking,” he said.

Mr Simons said CCTV cameras had caught a person allegedly vandalising one of his vans a few weeks ago, but more surveillance was needed in the main street.

Mr Wood and Ms Loughton agreed and said more CCTV cameras would deter antisocial behaviour.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails