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Taxi company refuses to ban intoxicated passengers

September 24, 2004

Taxi company refuses to ban intoxicated passengers

Taxis Palmerston North Limited will continue to carry female customers who appear intoxicated, despite other local cab companies now banning these passengers.

Manager, Cheryl Nixon, says her drivers will continue to provide a full and professional taxi service to all hirers.

"We are a professional public service provider. We are not about to start judging and banning whole groups of people based on the actions of a few.

"Also it is safer for female passengers who may be intoxicated if we do carry them. The alternative is to leave them, perhaps alone on the streets at night."

At least two Palmerston North taxi companies are now refusing to accept female passengers who appear intoxicated. The ban was imposed after several taxi drivers were accused of assault by drunken female passengers.

"As a Taxi Federation member we are extremely conscious of professional standards and we have an excellent rapport with Police.

"We train our drivers particularly carefully about best practice customer service, and about the risks they face from assault and robbery by passengers.

"We rely on our recruitment policies and our training to ensure we have the most reliable, sensible and responsible people possible behind the wheel."

Ms Nixon says Taxis Palmerston North employs five female drivers who also work on weekends and at nights. Requests for female drivers are increasing, she says.

"We advise all female passengers to sit in the back seat, and to note the driver's name and vehicle number. That way we can follow-up any allegations of unprofessional behaviour.

"Even if you're just vaguely uncomfortable with, or nervous about, a driver's behaviour, contact our dispatchers and let us know.

"Having a record of these calls alerts us to potential problems and allows us to take the necessary preventative action to protect customers."

ENDS


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