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Is this Melbourne's most dangerous taxi driver?
Silvertop Taxis say they are 'powerless' to sack the taxi driver snapped playing a game of 'Snake' on his mobile phone while driving.
The Business Manager at Silvertop Taxis, Kevin Gange, told Neil Mitchell as the man worked directly for the owner of the vehicle, to whom Silvertop Taxis supplied bookings, the Taxi company could not intervene.
Mr Gange said as soon as the incident was brought to the company's attention, the driver was immediately put on report and later interviewed.
"I think it was just a sheer lack of judgement on his part," he said.
"He's absolutely remorseful for his actions and he's assured us it won't happen again.
"In this situation (with) the driver not being an employee of Silvertop Taxis, I'm powerless to take any matters further in that regard."
Lauren Ridgway tweeted the picture from her account (@misscoca) yesterday afternoon while she noticed him on his phone while driving along Toorak Road.
"I noticed from the backseat...that he was actually playing games. I'm talking whilst actually moving in traffic, not even stopped at the lights," she told Neil Mitchell.
Mr Gange said he wasn't in a position to say whether the driver should still hold a taxi licence, but suggested the taxi regulator or the Police step in and investigate the incident.
"We've all agreed that it was the wrong thing to do and hopefully it doesn't happen again," he said.
Ms Ridgway said she did not bring up the dangerous activity, which continued for between ten and fifteen minutes, with the driver directly.
"I guess I'm not a particularly confrontational person by nature, but also I have a concern that if he thinks I'm going to report him, he knows where I got out of the taxi," she said.
Ms Ridgway said she had attempted to contact Silvertop Taxis a few times but had not heard anything back.
Mr Gange said Silvertop Taxis always acted 'swiftly' on complaints, but there had been a backlog which meant she had not heard from them the following day.
"Unfortunately there's a bit of a queue up in the voicemail box, so it's a matter of getting to these complaints as quickly as possible," he said.
Neil Mitchell said the man is an 'absolute idiot' who should not have a taxi licence.
Yup that's my taxi driver playing a game on his iPhone whilst driving. Not even stopped at the lights! twitter.com/misscoca/statu…— Lauren Ridgway (@misscoca) November 13, 2012
LISTEN: Lauren Ridgway speaks with Neil Mitchell:
If the driver was sacked for seriously risking the lives of all those around him then it would become a racist issue. There would be huge media coverage in his home country and demonstrations locally. The driver would become the victim and the fact that he was dangling the lives of the community in the face of death would be the minor insignificant issue. Society has become terrified of speaking out against the wrongs of some ethnic groups.Danny Newman Monday 19 November, 2012 - 11:16 AM
Is this the same Peter Erwin giving advice that broke enough rules to get kicked out of his taxi company?
Maybe this driver will learn the hard way, just like you Peter and go on to give advice to otherskettle and pot Monday 19 November, 2012 - 12:39 AM
The handling of customer complaints (thousands of them) are not handled promptly by taxi companies or by the taxi regulator. From Monday 26 November you may register your complaint on the website of the newly formed Professional Drivers' Association Inc. at www.professionaldrivers.com.au
There are concerned taxi drivers who know that the taxi service is very bad - tell us about your problem so that we know what needs to be done.Douglas Clark Saturday 17 November, 2012 - 4:01 AM
You are not in a position to be sarcastic Mr Erwin because Fels' proposal to hire private security firms to oversee our safety is no different. Aren't you also the man who suffers from a serious case of self-aggrandisement and thinks he speaks on behalf of taxi drivers, the aged and disabled? DOOOH!!!Anna Stavretis Saturday 17 November, 2012 - 12:08 AM
Sure, Peter Erwin. The Fels' system of unrestricted competition will create better drivers. And pigs fly.Anna Friday 16 November, 2012 - 11:12 PM
The taxi industry structure produces non career drivers who have no real care for the customer. The dispatch obviously does not care for customers. The sooner government brings in the Fels recommendations the better.Peter Erwin Friday 16 November, 2012 - 4:46 PM