Veteran Taxi driver says shooting incident a great concern

By Talisa Kupenga

A veteran taxi driver says more needs to be done to protect drivers following the shooting of a Wellington taxi operator at the weekend.

Taxi Driver Clarke Tamariki is aware of only one other shooting incident during his 44-year career.

"A friend of ours quite a while back maybe 10 or 20-years he was shot in broad daylight by people out in the country and he was lucky to survive."

A Capital Taxis driver was shot in the shoulder on Saturday night after a fare dispute, then sought help at a nearby Miramar service station. Tamariki expects the incident has rattled the taxi community and more needs to be done to protect drivers.

"I've got a camera up here but that's not going to help you. It's alright having the photo afterwards but you don't know what's going to happen, apart from that we've only got the safety switch."

The Executive Director at Taxi Federation John Hart says there's no simple fix, but laws to protect drivers need to be strengthened and more needs to be done to ensure safety on the job.

"We've looked at safety screens that are used in some parts of the world but unless you have plate-glass separating the driver from the passenger they're not completely safe not completely secure."

Tamariki says barriers might intimidate some customers.

“You're picking up all sorts of people, little old ladies wouldn't want to hop into an armoured tank."

But some drivers might consider bullet proof vests.

“If I was working those same hours [I would probably wear one]. You don’t know what's out there at night.”

Police say the driver is recovering after surgery at Wellington Hospital. Capital Taxis did not respond to request for comment.