Taxi Drivers Confused About Passenger Rules

Andy Ong
Andy Ong
Dale Evans
Dale Evans

by Beth Hillyer

HONOLULU (KHNL) - There's still no arrest one week after a taxi driver was shot at an Aiea ATM.

Police are working with the critically injured cab driver, but he can't communicate much about the suspect who remains at-large.

And that has other cab drivers on edge.

It's just common sense.

If you feel a passenger may be dangerous, just drive off.

But it's not that simple. There is a city law about refusing fares that some cabbies find confusing.

Dispatchers send drivers scurrying to pick up passengers.

But sometimes drivers like Andy Ong encounter threatening fares.

"You can refuse mostly nighttime if he is drunk just drive straight ahead," Ong said.

Given the recent robberies, one which led to a murder and another that left a cabbie seriously hurt, you would think the cabbies would just drive off. But it's not that easy.

Many cabbies say under their company policy, they can be suspended if they refuse a fare.

Plus there's a city ordinance that says drivers can't refuse orderly passengers.

Andy and other drivers worry if they refuse a fare they could lose their jobs..

The owner of Charley's Taxi, Dale Evans, says that for 15 years she has been trying to clarify that law.

"We'd like to see an exception where the driver feels like he is in danger or ask if the customer is able to pay," Evans told us.

She feels drivers need to be educated on their right to refuse a fare.

"I think that requires the companies to train their drivers properly if it is not clear says in ordinance can't refuse an orderly customer within 2 miles of the taxi stand," Evans explained.

There are many taxi companies out there with different rules for their drivers.

But until the gunman in last Friday's night's shooting is arrested, police are asking all drivers to use caution.