August 30, 2016
Taxi Council warns of spike in sexual assaults after QLD rideshare legislation
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) says proposed new legislation that will deregulate the taxi industry and prevent the public from identifying taxis will lead to an increase in sexual assaults in this state, just as it is doing overseas.
A recent Associated Press (AP) report in the USA revealed that a man posed as an uber driver to assault a woman in Atlanta; with similar cases being reported in several US cities including Los Angeles, where “a man was arrested and accused of luring a woman into his SUV and then raping her and choking her until she became unconscious”.
The reports states that, “within the past 12 months, police in Washington, D.C., and in Chicago also have issued public alerts to warn residents about people pretending to be uber drivers and preying on unsuspecting customers.”
TCQ chief executive officer Benjamin Wash said the council has been warning about such attacks since the start of illegal rideshare services in Queensland but had been accused of scaremongering.
“It goes without saying that if the public cannot identify vehicles that are genuine taxis, there is opportunity for predators and people with criminal intent to easily exploit this, particularly when dealing with drunk and vulnerable customers.”
He said uber is not to blame, but “any system that allows unmarked cars to pick up passengers is a recipe for disaster.
“While rideshare drivers should only accept pre-booked rides, we know many cruise around nightclub precincts and schools trying to pick up passengers, and this will get worse with the new legislation that allows anyone to run their own taxi service.”
The AP report quotes police as confirming that “some uber drivers wait outside bars anticipating that people will need rides, much like taxis do.”
“This Government has given criminals and predators an opportunity to masquerade as rideshare drivers, offering lifts to passengers at their most vulnerable, and all Queenslanders should be outraged.”
AP article referred to above - http://www.denverpost.com/2016/08/26/atlanta-police-seek-man-who-posed-as-uber-driver-attacked-woman/