Monday, July 23, 2007

Taxi drivers in language jam

The communication below of 1995 and reply thereby do not support to day's racist outburst. On that time, "The number of taxi drivers suffering from communication problems (e.g. English)" was less than 8% and the department told us, "things are improving". So, what is the real story? Where is the truth?

Taxi drivers in language jam

By Heath Aston

July 23, 2007 01:46am

Article from: The Daily Telegraph

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THE strained relationship between taxi drivers and passengers could be improved if some cabbies spoke better English, a government report suggests.

A special taskforce chaired by former deputy police commissioner Dave Madden has urged the taxi industry to raise the bar for communication skills among the state's 22,000 taxi drivers.

Should the language test for cabbies be tougher? Join the online poll on our homepage.

"Good communication is fundamental to good customer service, and can help avoid confrontation and potentially dangerous situations arising or escalating," the Taxi Industry Safety and Security Taskforce report said.

"In this context, it needs to be acknowledged that at least 60 per cent of Sydney taxi drivers are from non-English speaking backgrounds. For these drivers in particular, the ability to communicate simply and directly is all the more valuable."

The report linked alcohol or drug affected passengers and drivers with poor English skills as a common thread in situations ending in violence.

Six months late, the report comes amid a spate of recent bashings and two murders of cab drivers.

The death of Youbert Hormozi at the hands of two 14-year-old girls sickened Sydney. The body of Coogee cabbie Bob Woodger was found in bushland at Eastwood last month.

But it hasn't been all one-way traffic, with a Gymea cabbie recently accused of the hit-and-run of Jennifer Franco in Miranda. Another driver was accused of stabbing a passenger in Bondi.

Cabbies also came under fire when The Daily Telegraph revealed that some blind citizens were being routinely left on the side of the road by drivers who refuse to take guide dogs in their vehicle on hygiene or religious grounds.

Taxi Council spokeswoman Tracey Caine said the current language test for driver accreditation was the same standard as used in the tourism industry. "It used to only be English language, now it's comprehension as well," she said.

The Taxi Council also runs customer service courses.

For the safety of drivers the report recommended two panic buttons, mandatory security cameras, safety screens, GPS and locks controlled by drivers.

The taskforce also urged the extension of secure taxi ranks and the booking voucher system that is used in 300 pubs, mainly in southwest Sydney.

Patrons must show ID and have details recorded at the venue before they are allowed a cab. Since it began there has not been a violent incident involving a registered passenger.

Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:31 pm

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