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Assaulted Cabbie Pushes For Better Protection

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Cab drivers say they’re worried they’ll be fined, or even lose their license, if they don’t pick up every fare who waves them down.

Cab driver Mohammed Latif stood outside the Taxi and Limousine headquarters a day after he was attacked by a passenger who then stole his cab and crashed it into a utility pole in Union Square.

WCBS 880 Reporter Marla Diamond spoke with Latif about his fears

Latif was suspicious of the man flagging him down for a ride.

“He seemed unstable,” said Latif.

Latif and the State Federation of Taxi Drivers are demanding better protections for drivers.

“There is a law we have to follow by the TLC, we can’t refuse someone,” said Latif. “At least we should have flexibility to refuse these kinds of people.”

A TLC spokesman says that is just not true – cabbies can refuse physically dangerous or drunk people. Fernando Mateo, who heads the State Federation of Taxi Drivers, says most drivers don’t know that.

“Right now, we need to make sure that the rights of the drivers is not violated,” said Mateo.

A 38-percent spike in customer complaints has prompted Mayor Bloomberg to propose steep fines for cabbies who leave customers at the curb.

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