THE manager of Wodonga Taxis and the chief of the industry’s association are disgusted with the lack of respect for drivers after two were attacked at the weekend.
A window was smashed and a door ripped off a maxi taxi in Melbourne Road, West Wodonga, at 1am Sunday after a driver asked passengers he had picked up in Beresford Court to pre-pay the fare.
Police said a second driver was punched after he stopped and tried to stop the suspects.
Three teenagers were arrested at the scene and Wodonga police Sgt Wal Larkin said the Lavington youths, two aged 16 and one 14, would be charged on summons with attempted theft, recklessly cause injury and criminal damage.
Sgt Larkin said video from the taxi had shown two others involved – one a North Albury man, 18, and a second teenager yet to be identified.
Wodonga Taxis manager John Farrington said drivers had come to expect bad behaviour from intoxicated passengers every weekend.
“It’s reasonable to expect you may get some foul language but you should never have to contemplate physical damage, in any workplace – that cannot be accepted,” Mr Farrington said.
He said the last serious incident in Wodonga was in July when a baseball bat was used to damage a taxi in High Street.
Mr Farrington said attacks on drivers were unusual but when they happened, all of the fleet’s 16 drivers felt it.
He said only one taxi did not have cameras and that should be enough to deter attacks.
He said security screens were not something country drivers wanted because they hindered driver-passenger interaction.
That was supported by the Victoria Taxi Association’s deputy chief executive David Samuel.
“We’d prefer the country service remains as it is,” Mr Samuel said.
“We’d hate to see it go to the next level.”
He said “appalling” incidents like those at the weekend were daily occurrences in the cities.
“These are the things we see occur in Melbourne,” he said.
“We would hate to see that behaviour spilling out to the country.”