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Local News

Cab Company Changes Policy After Stabbing, But Drivers Still Worry

http://66.225.205.104/LM20111017.mp3

Diamond Cab company is changing its policy on picking up customers after one of its drivers was stabbed in the neck last week in east Charlotte. But drivers still have concerns about their safety. 

Driving cabs has some big hazards. "You never know who you're picking up. I mean, it could be a nice person, it could be a bad one," says Abdi Mohamud, who has driven taxis in Charlotte for ten years. Like the stabbing victim, he also works for Diamond Cab. Mohamud has been robbed once and closely escaped a second robbery. So it wasn't all together a shock when one of his colleagues got stabbed.

That call came in from a pay phone for a pick-up at a gas station. Diamond Cab has now decided not to send a driver to anyone who calls from a pay phone, or won't give a phone number or specific address to meet.

That doesn't make Mohamud feel much safer. He says his biggest defense is his own judgment. He's refused to pick up people a few times when a situation seems suspicious. "I notified my dispatcher and they were happy what I did. I said don't send any other cabs for these people," says Mohamud.

But he says drivers worry the city will take away their licenses if people complain that they refused to pick them up. Universal Taxi owner Mohamad Moustafa changed his company's policy a couple years ago after a driver had a gun held to him. His drivers now rarely pick up people who flag them down on the street. "It's more safer to take the people that call you because you can check their names, their phone numbers, the database and stuff like that in the system," says Moustafa.

Moustafa says over nineteen years in business, four of his drivers have been killed. So he says it makes sense most drivers now carry guns.