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Taxi driver responds to accusations

A taxi driver known as “Night Rider” for his late-night service has defended his reputation against the charge that he was abusive to two female passengers.

The driver said that their complaints about the night of August 1 amounted to character assassination.

Earlier, the two had reported the confrontation to the Bermuda Tourism Authority. They accused the driver, who had collected them from Café Lido at Elbow Beach, of swearing at them and forcing them out of his cab when they refused his request to use their credit cards to pay for his gasoline.

The two said the driver repeatedly demanded that they fill up his tank before aggressively ordering them out at the end of the drive, before South Road.

“For them to say that about me, cursing and carrying on, is a slap in the face, not just to me but to all taxi drivers,” said the driver of taxi T1756, who asked that his name not be used. “A lot of people know me, and everybody knows that I do not use profanity — I am a Christian and I do not curse. Just recently my pastor was telling the church that he didn’t know many people with a bigger heart than mine.”

He said he has driven his luxury Mercedes cab, nicknamed “The Guardian Angel”, for more than a decade, collecting passengers from remote locations and at all hours. I get a lot of corporate work,” he added.

“People have called my boss telling him how good my work is.”

He said that after a busy night during the Cup Match holiday, he had been bent on reaching the 24-hour gas station in Hamilton for diesel. He said the two passengers had got aboard as he was dropping off two others, requesting to go to The Fairmont Southampton Hotel. He added that he felt they were unresponsive and curt with him.

With his tank running low, the driver said he had told them he would not be able to make it without their assistance in getting diesel from the Warwick Rubis station. Although closed, its pumps would have been accessible by credit card.

“I offered her $20 and said she could swipe her card at the gas pump for $20 gas,” he explained. “Otherwise I would not be able to get that far. If your tank runs out of diesel, you’re in big trouble. It’s bad for the engine.”

He attributed the lateness of the hour, combined with alcohol, to the misunderstanding in which his passengers refused to pay and ultimately called the police.

The driver said he had asked them to get out, as he did not want to drive back to Elbow Beach, and told them they would be best off flagging a cab at the main road. They caught another cab in his presence, adding that he had conducted himself in a professional manner.

According to the Transport Control Department, the Public Service Vehicles Licensing Board is continuing to investigate the incident.