Taxi Driver Assaults Raise Call for Bill

May 6, 2010 Updated: May 6, 2010

NEW YORK—Two more taxi drivers reported Thursday assault on the job, just weeks after a driver was slashed across the neck and barely survived. Now local officials are raising support for a bill that will toughen penalties for assaulting a taxi driver.

The two recently assaulted drivers include Abubakar Abdallah, 46, and Jangbir Singh, 45. Abdallah who was left bleeding from cuts on the face and shoulder and a fractured nose, before five attackers took his taxi and collided into a private car. Singh was spat at, racially slandered, and assaulted in the arm with a metal pipe. Singh's passenger, a tourist returning to Canada, witnessed the scene while screaming in the backseat.

“We need an anti-violence bill to stop yellow cabs from being turned into moving targets,” said 30-year veteran driver Beresford Simmons in a press release. “These assaults leave us drivers and even our riders and others on the street vulnerable and injured.”

Abdallah and Singh joined the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) to call for a “Day of Enough is Enough: Respect our Labor. Protect our Lives” on May 25. All participating taxis will be decorated with symbolic red ribbons and go for a motorcade to Albany to urge the passage of the Taxi Driver Protection Act.

Introduced by Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) and state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) and endorsed by newly appointed Taxi & Limousine Commission Chairman David Yassky, the act would make assaults against drivers a felony and require warning signs inside taxis, same as the ones already in buses and subways.

Both Abdallah and Singh said they will join the taxi caravan to the state capital, hoping their suffering will not be in vain.

“I want the blood that I shed to have meaning and not be ignored,” said Abdallah.