Taxi companies to review using onboard cameras after deadly attack on London cab driver
The killing of a taxi driver in London over the weekend has many in the industry asking, should onboard cameras be mandatory?
Vijay Bhatia had picked up two passengers and took the pair to a convenience store parking lot on Saturday. Police say Bhatia was then assaulted and later found dead.
The entire attack was caught on an onboard camera, which helped lead police to the man accused of killing him. A 23-year-old London man has been charged with second-degree murder.
Taxi owners in Barrie say it's not uncommon for drivers to be punched, kicked and choked.
“With the crime on the street and the drugs out there, people are desperate. They’ll do almost anything,” says Buck Stone, owner of Deluxe Taxi.
Stone knows all too well the dangers the business carries. In 1993, Deluxe Taxi driver Fred Shapcott was killed in Innisfil.
“They beat him up and killed him for a few dollars.”
Still, Alliance and Deluxe Taxis do not have onboard cameras.
The London Taxi Association says these cameras are there for the safety of both drivers and passengers.
“We would hope that people would learn from this particular incident that it is better to have more preventative measures than none,” says Roger Caranci.
Barrie Taxi has about 20 of its cabs equipped with cameras inside. Not only do they help lower insurance costs, but they provide clear proof in case of a serious crime.
“Especially driving at night time, you’re picking up strangers and you never know what can happen,” says Tom Watson-Giles of Barrie Taxi. “There’s a risk of being out there on the road and having a camera certainly eliminates some of that risk.”
All three cab companies say they're looking into these cameras, which range from $200 to $800 a piece.
They’re even exploring installing bullet proof shields.
With files from The Canadian Press.