The dangerous job of a taxi driver - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

The dangerous job of a taxi driver

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November 7, 2005

Albany--Taxi drivers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. The job often puts drivers in harm's way.

For nearly 30 years, Bennie Davis has worked as a taxi driver, only now she considers getting out of the business.

"This is a dangerous job," she says.

Thursday night Davis' co-worker, Jake King, was stabbed several times while working.

"I don't know what happened, but I don't really think they robbed him because if they asked him they would have gave it to them," says Davis.

All 17 Albany Cab taxis now bear purple ribbons honoring King's memory.

"They're like in shock right now, really and truly in shock, right now," she says.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, taxi drivers are 60 times more likely than the average worker to be murdered on the job.

"When you're out like this, you're taking a chance. You're taking a chance," says Davis.

Davis says she's had her fair share of bad customers.

"Some teenagers, they were being really, really ugly, and I asked for a 10-15, which is the police, and he knew what a 10-15 was too, and he jumped out the car," she says.

People not paying for her service, is Bennie's biggest problem, while her co-workers have run into more serious ones.

"The dispatcher and one of our drivers got robbed, and the robber hit him across the head," she says.

Davis believes taxi drivers need better protection.

"We need a device in the car that you can hear, and the people not know, to warn the dispatcher that something is wrong," she says.

While her co-worker's death has been a wake up call to just how dangerous her job really is, she hopes that people who depend on her for transportation, will have a better appreciation of what she and other taxi drivers do.

The funeral for Albany Cab driver Jake King is this Saturday at 11 AM at Israel's Temple. The church is located along the 700 block of West Society Avenue in Albany. His co-workers will be honorary pallbearers.

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