There's not much one can do when passengers jump aboard, uninvited, whilst I'm dropping off a fare. The doors are open, I'm stuck in traffic, and vulnerable to whoever spots the cab first. It's the luck of the draw on Saturday night.
My luck ran out this weekend when scumbags caught me unawares by piling in the cab, then doing a runner. Twice in the space of two hours: Star Casino to Malabar ($45), thence Kings Cross to Marrickville ($40).
After a second visit to the police in one night I gave up and went home, three hours early. This plus an hour spent Sunday afternoon downloading camera images...all in all a very expensive weekend.
The only positive note from the sorry affair was witnessing the download process for the first time, and learning our new cameras retain images for three weeks. The excellent picture resolution and lighting make for definitive identification.
Also encouraging news for drivers is that images can be downloaded and police notified at our convenience. The network employs a camera technician who is licensed to download images prior to obtaining a police request. Another hurdle to drivers which has been removed from the process.
If these dogs are known to police thence some active resolve amongst investigators should see a result. Unfortunately, though, front line police don't have a consistent approach to taxi fare evasion.
As experienced in the past, police responses on Saturday night were either helpful or...challenging, literally. “Mate, what exactly do you want us to do?” Um, take fare evasion seriously would be a good starting point.
However that attitude should become redundant once the transport authority adopts Melbourne's regulation of mandatory pre-payment at night. Once that happens - possibly, not until the next cabbie is killed – then these runners, the bane of our lives, should disappear overnight.
A final thought - my last ten runners (four fares) have all being aged over thirty years old. Why? I only demand pre-payment from 'kids' as one doesn't automatically expect older adults to run from taxis. Yet they run just as much as kids run. Strange.
No matter, as I called out to two dogs and a bitch scampering away in the dark the other night, “You don't rob cabbies - that's a dog act!”