MANCHESTER: Taxi drivers say they have been left fearing for their lives while working on the streets of Bury. During a meeting attended by police and politicians on Sunday evening, more than 100 drivers from a number of private hire companies from across the town spoke of how they now felt unsafe following several reports of drivers being targeted in recent weeks.
According to a ‘Asian Image’ report, one such incident took place in Broad Oak Lane last Saturday when a driver of teen agers shattered the rear window of a vehicle belonging to Royal Peel Cars driver.
The drivers claim that the police and Bury Council are not doing enough to protect them. One driver told the meeting at Jinnah Day Care Centre, in Alfred Street, that he felt at risk every time he left the house, and stressed that the situation is also dangerous for passengers. Another added: “Every day we are getting messages on the system saying ‘drivers be careful, kids are throwing stones.’
“If I drive past a corner and see a group of kids I know an attack is coming. I have been doing the job for 12 years and it has been going on for ages.
“The worst areas for drivers are around Bell Lane, Clarence Park and Walmersley Road, and Whitehead Park on Ainsworth Road. Why should I report it if there’s no action? Someone once threatened to shoot me for parking outside his house and still police did nothing.” Another driver complained that he had previously been told by a police officer that taxi drivers were considered ‘a low priority’. Cllr Tamoor Tariq, the council’s cabinet member for communities, told the meeting that the council and police had identified, and were dealing with, eight individuals who were behind the recent attacks.
Chief Inspector Phil Spurgeon, who was only recently assigned to Bury, said he felt the drivers had been ‘let down’. He added: “Keep the faith in Greater Manchester Police, keep reporting and we will do our best even though that sometimes isn’t good enough.” A number of drivers also expressed frustrations with the way police dealt with reports of passengers not paying fares.