CRIMINALS FORCE CABBIES OUT OF BUSINESS
At 40 years old, a lot of persons are settled in their career of choice, but after being robbed several times in a year, former taxi driver Alfred Singh says he is now job hunting.
Singh, who has been held up six times since February 2015, says he decided to stop driving taxis after 15 years in the profession.
"April them rob me and me say this a the last time a do this. Mi put down the work cause me a go end up losing my life if me continue," he told THE STAR.
Although his family of four depends on him as their main source of income, Singh says he refuses to be a cab driver anymore.
"Me start doing some farming. In the meantime me a sort out farm work," said Singh, who operated in the Red Hills area.
Now, Singh, who lives in St Catherine, is insisting that taxi drivers are being targeted by criminals.
This view was supported by the president of the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services, Egerton Newman, who said the cabbies are targeted by criminals across Jamaica because they have large amounts of cash on their person daily.
Figures from the Corporate Communications Unit show that 36 taxi drivers were killed in 2015, with robbery as the main motive behind their murders. Thirteen taxi drivers have been killed so far this year.
Despite the worrying statistics, Newman commended the police force for their zero-tolerance approach of stopping buses and taxis and searching passengers, drivers, and conductors.
However, he said the public transportation providers are unable to fully protect themselves because they will be arrested if found with an ice pick or knife.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Elon Powell, told THE STAR that taxi and bus drivers will be charged if they are found with illegal weapons.