CABBIES IN Tunbridge Wells are demanding the authorities crackdown on racist insults by drunk and abusive passengers.
Taxi drivers say insults and physical violence are common and matters have come to a head after mobile phone footage showed a man shouting abusive comments at a cabbie late at night outside the town’s train station.
The 31 year old driver, originally from Afghanistan, was parked up outside the station when a man launched a tirade of racist abuse over a fare quote.
The cabbie, who wanted to remain anonymous, said:
The man came up to me and said he was looking to go to Horsmonden, about 12 miles away and I rounded the price up to £42. Straight away he was asking me where I was born. Then he started to get very aggressive and shouting some horrible things.
I tried to be as calm as possible and recorded some of it. He seemed to be with his girlfriend and I told him, ‘Shame on you. Look at your girlfriend, you shouldn’t be talking like this in front of her. The whole thing went on for about half an hour and I couldn’t sleep at all.
The man, described as white, in his late 20s to early 30 thirties, with short blond hair and wearing glasses, is alleged to have called the taxi driver a, “Muslim cu**” and then said: “You’re in England now, not in fu**ing Bangladesh”.
The emergency services were called but police officers were unable to locate the suspect. A spokesman said: “Officers attended to a reported disturbance and spoke to a man who reported he had been racially abused by another man. Officers searched the scene but were unable to find him.”
Hulkan Altindas, secretary of the Tunbridge Wells Hackney Drivers Association (TWHDA) said: “This sort of thing happens all the time and I have been in a similar situation myself. I have lived in England for 40-odd years and I am just used to it.”
Cabbie Ozkan Kubatli said he has also suffered racist abuse from passengers and said: “Cabbies get a lot of this sort of trouble.”
TWHDA president Shujuallah Baraki said the police were not responding quickly enough to reports of racist attacks on cab drivers in Tunbridge Wells and added:
Officers are too slow to react to attacks on drivers and too many abusers are not being prosecuted. I have been in contact with the council and the police about the issue and I have received assurances. But so far, no action has been taken.