A Hutt Valley taxi driver was stabbed in the head "out of
nowhere'' after he refused to give two women a free ride
The driver, a Hutt and City Taxis employee, was recovering at
home today after the attack on Queen St in Upper Hutt about
Police said the women pair used a sharp object to stab the
taxi driver. He suffered minor injuries and did not need
The women, who fled on foot, have not yet been caught but
police are tonight scouring camera footage from the taxi in
an effort to identify the pair.
Hutt and City Taxis general manager Roger Heale said two
women got into the driver's car and requested a free ride.
"A discussion followed, a relatively civil discussion, and
then out of nowhere he was attacked by one of the
passengers,'' he said.
"Very fortunately, the wounds were superficial but having
seen the footage, we think that our driver got away very
The driver did not know what had happened to him at first.
"He just tried to escape from his car, and then when the
passengers left, he got back in and drove off. But now that
he's seen this footage, he's a little bit shocked as well.''
Mr Heale would not go into details about the driver, but said
the man would stay at home with his family until he felt well
enough to return to work.
The attack could easily have been a lot worse, he said.
"It was unprovoked, using a sharp instrument ... He
fortunately only received superficial injuries, and he
managed to get himself to the police station and to the local
hospital before being discharged later this morning.''
Mr Heale said some young women used to accuse drivers of
sexual assault if they could not get a free ride, but the
mandatory cameras in taxis had put an end to that.
The company had now given camera footage of the incident to
"We hope there is enough evidence there. It's in their hands
now. But people should be aware that we are able to do
Mr Heale said he did not want New Zealand to become a place
where there had to be bulletproof glass between passengers
and drivers, but driver safety was paramount.
"Your ride being slightly diminished is a lot less of a price
to pay than a family's life being destroyed because of their
father not coming home.''
Wellington police communications manager Nick Bohm said an
investigation into the incident had been launched.
A scene investigation was underway of the area where the
attack occurred and police were planning to interview the
driver when he was ready.
Footage from the taxi was also being reviewed, he said.
The New Zealand Taxi Federation said the attack demonstrated
how important cameras were for cabbies.
"You'd have no hope of tracking them [the women] down if you
didn't have the camera,'' executive director Tim Reddish
Asking passengers whether they had money for a cab fare
before taking them was not unusual.
"There's no use in getting to the end of the journey and
finding people have got no money.
"It is very common procedure for taxi drivers to ask if
they've got the money, or ask them to show the money or see
their cards,'' Mr Reddish said.
Use of cameras by the industry was currently under review, he
"There were some dodgy camera providers out there. That's an
issue we're talking to the NZTA [Transport Agency] about at
Implementing stricter rules around checking taxi cameras was
a big part of the review, Mr Reddish said.