SHIRTLESS IN SWANSTON STREET

You’d think it was a little cold for this sort of thing:

Dozens of taxi drivers whipped off their shirts and sat down at a busy city intersection this morning in a protest over the stabbing of a colleague that has brought central Melbourne to a halt.

Do scroll down for a flabby cabbie picture gallery.

UPDATE. Further hot cabbie action.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/30/2008 at 12:44 AM
    1. All Greek to me …

      Posted by egg_ on 2008 04 30 at 12:54 AM • permalink

 

    1. Judging by my experiences with Melbourne taxis, it’s not a sit in, they’re lost.

      The Karachi recruiting office is having a bumper year by the looks, too.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2008 04 30 at 01:04 AM • permalink

 

    1. #2
      Gives the ‘Taxi Pak’ a whole new meaning …

      Posted by egg_ on 2008 04 30 at 01:07 AM • permalink

 

    1. On second thoughts, it could be part of the 20/20 summit.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2008 04 30 at 01:13 AM • permalink

 

    1. #2 – you are, I’m afraid, spot on.  The standard of taxi drivers here in Melbourne has just headed south faster than a styrofoam iceberg in the last 5 or 6 years.  If you want a taxi in Melbourne, be prepared to bring your own Melways (the street A-Z) and give very clear and concise directions at every possible turn.
      Most of them are either brought in by the taxi firms on the basis of “I know a friend” or are former university students who come over to Australia to do joke degrees on the promise of a permanent residency visa after they have coughed up $000s for the course, only to find once they have finished that their language skills are slightly below that required to be a competent taxi-driver (and I have a lot of respect for the good ones – except they are hard to find nowadays), let alone the lawyer/accountant/doctor they thought they would be.

      Posted by Bohemond on 2008 04 30 at 01:14 AM • permalink

 

    1. No bloody cabs either

      Posted by Pickles on 2008 04 30 at 01:18 AM • permalink

 

    1. The Sydney Morning Herald has an interview with one of the agitators who goes by the name of Jazz Randyboy.

      What’s the bet he wasn’t born with that name.

      Posted by gdog78 on 2008 04 30 at 01:19 AM • permalink

 

    1. Outraged

      Posted by Pickles on 2008 04 30 at 01:24 AM • permalink

 

    1. Melbourne?

      Looks like Amsterdam!

      Or Paris.

      Or London …

      Posted by Vincent Gerome on 2008 04 30 at 01:32 AM • permalink

 

    1. The taxi drivers in Sydney arent much better, the usual answer when given a destination is “how do you get to that”.  I even got asked how to get to the airport when I got into a cab at Canterbury a few weeks ago.

      Posted by surfmaster on 2008 04 30 at 01:33 AM • permalink

 

    1. I’m not much for imposing red tape and what not, but why aren’t GPS’s manadatory in taxis? No wonder they don’t like guide dogs – they’re afraid they’ll be done out of a job.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2008 04 30 at 01:40 AM • permalink

 

    1. #10 – last time I was at the airport in Sydney, I had to give the taxi driver directions to Circular Quay (big harbour area, between that big white building and that large bridge, oh forget it…straight ahead, turn right here, then right again ….).

      I don’t know if he ever found his way out afterwards.

      Posted by Bohemond on 2008 04 30 at 01:41 AM • permalink

 

    1. Perhaps the protestors will get the attention of the Australian government, who will finally—finally—make it illegal to stab taxi drivers?

      Posted by Copious Maximus on 2008 04 30 at 01:55 AM • permalink

 

    1. Let’s hope Phillip Adams and Michael Moore do not get wind of this new form of protest.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2008 04 30 at 01:59 AM • permalink

 

    1. Arrgh.
      Hot cabbie action?Man Boobs?

      thanks tim. thanks a lot.

      #7
      Jazz Randyboy? That’s gotta be his porno name!

      #10
      Canterbury? Were you lost, surfie?

      #11
      From my experience with GPS devices they’re not infallible.

      Just imagine: “Turn left here” (at a no left turn sign? = CHAOS)

      #13 et al, why did the taxi driver get stabbed? Fare from City to the Airport ended up at Geelong and got a bit upset, maybe?

      Posted by kae on 2008 04 30 at 02:04 AM • permalink

 

    1. *I made the manboob comment before I read the Tele article…

      At least they’re not threatening to behead anyone.

      Posted by kae on 2008 04 30 at 02:07 AM • permalink

 

    1. Taxi drivers might be getting worse, but that’s no reason to stab them.

      All jokes aside, they are getting worse because the job is now the lowest of the low – the 21st century equivalent of the 1940s pan man – and only those desperate for a buck will drive cabs, i.e., newly-arrived migrants.

      Added to that, law and order in Victoria is now at an all-time low. Melbourne streets after dark are full of drunken yobs intent on causing mayhem knowing Commissioner Nixon’s Plodforce will be nowhere to be seen. Cabbies are being routinely set-upon, bashed, stabbed, you name it.

      And on the subject of police, only in Victoria could a convicted murderer once on death row get away with shooting a woman in cold blood, escaping into the ether and his identity withheld for 30 hours.

      Posted by ilibcc on 2008 04 30 at 02:25 AM • permalink

 

    1. #14
      Perhaps in a voyeur capacity?(Sorry)

      Posted by egg_ on 2008 04 30 at 02:29 AM • permalink

 

    1. #17 – I don’t disagree with anything that you have said, and you are spot-on about law and order in ‘The Place To Be’ (although as in Australia we are only supposed to be having ‘skilled’ migration, I am not sure how we ended up with so many unskilled taxi drivers) but some basic standards for taxi drivers would help.  I was always impressed with the London cabbies (whereas the mini-cab drivers were on a par with what we have in Victoria).

      Posted by Bohemond on 2008 04 30 at 02:30 AM • permalink

 

    1. OT – Headline of the month:

      Motive Not Known of Special Education Teacher Accused of Taking Students to Motel for Sex

      Posted by Pig Head Sucker on 2008 04 30 at 02:40 AM • permalink

 

    1. The worst taxi drivers I have come across are in Adelaide.  I visited Adelaide earlier this year and I had to instruct the driver on how to get from the airport to the hotel and I’d never been there before, thank God for google maps.

      Posted by darrinhV2 on 2008 04 30 at 02:56 AM • permalink

 

    1. The gallery at the SMH website shows some of the placards:
      “How many mother loose thier sons” [sic]“Taxi driver is human too” (I thought Taxi Driver was a movie with Robert De Niro)

      “Stop killing taxi driver” (someone must be making a remake of the De Niro flick)

      And this most ominous warning:
      “Victorian Police – Stop all this otherwise u will face peaceful storm”.

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 2008 04 30 at 03:11 AM • permalink

 

    1. It’s amazing they can stage a sit in without their wooden bead seat covers.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2008 04 30 at 03:24 AM • permalink

 

    1. I’ve seen some pretty vicious, racist abuse of melbourne cabbies since I’ve been down here so I’ve gotta say I fully support their protest (except for the man boob part).  Walked down at lunch to have a look and they were all sitting around in the crossroads of Swanston and Flinders.  Good on em!

      Posted by bondo on 2008 04 30 at 03:50 AM • permalink

 

    1. If thats what it takes for them to get some action from the fine squad that most state police have been turned into, then good on them.

      Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2008 04 30 at 04:01 AM • permalink

 

    1. #19
      Bohemond
      Many years ago (about the early 1980s) my friend decided that she’d like a change of pace. She decided to be a taxi driver for Taxis Combined.
      She had to sit an examination for which she studied. Part of it was how to get from point A to point B the fastest way, and then with obstacles like, “There’s a fire at so and so, what’s the best way to go avoiding that area.”
      She passed. She loved driving, but was attacked once. Because her attacker had a record as long as your arm he “plea bargained” and got a lighter sentence. She was physically attacked, him saying what he was going to do to her and tearing her blouse. When she lurched the car forward into a tree, he grabbed her money and took off.
      She was quite shaken up, and her brother who was a radio operator on the day was quite concerned.
      The attacker would have got a more severe sentence for stealing her money than for the physical attack. There’s something wrong with that.As he leapt from the cab shouting that she was mad (for stacking the cab into a tree, after running over an abandoned car bench seat – this was out in the sticks), his bail card dropped out of his wallet. (or was it his wallet he lost? nevermind).
      The wallopers caught him pretty quick smart.

      Posted by kae on 2008 04 30 at 04:02 AM • permalink

 

    1. In light of this protest, when oh when will the Victorian Government put an end to the exorbitant pay and conditions being doled out to its young nurses and secretaries.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2008 04 30 at 04:36 AM • permalink

 

    1. I take taxis only when I absolutely have to. I have never come across a cab driver that didn’t make me want to wind down the window to breathe.

      Posted by Apple77 on 2008 04 30 at 04:58 AM • permalink

 

    1. That very good global warming allows shirtless protests even in Melbourne.

      Posted by watty on 2008 04 30 at 05:02 AM • permalink

 

    1. I’m amazed. Out of all the times I’ve actually caught a taxi in Melbourne (ie, hundreds), I think I’ve only ever gotten a bad driver three times. Though that one who asked me where the Arts Center was certainly took the cake.

      Posted by Ash_ on 2008 04 30 at 06:22 AM • permalink

 

    1. Did not one of our 1000 best and brightest, intellectual geniuses, social scientists, raise this as an issue at the summit. Maybe this was the pimple on Rudd’s arse when he bent over to reflect the sun’s rays.

      What else did they miss?

      Please don’t applaud.

      Posted by mehaul on 2008 04 30 at 07:07 AM • permalink

 

    1. A shirtless dog (up to 10 boobs!) in the passenger seat would protect the driver, particularly if from some currently notorious breed, whatever the devil breed is.

      Perpetrators get their knowledge from TV and so will watch their step.

      Posted by rhhardin on 2008 04 30 at 07:07 AM • permalink

 

    1. I chanced up an excellent taxi driver recently – the guy was a human GPS.  Knew every back street in my suburb better than I do, and he was a careful and considerate driver.  I actually felt safe sitting in his cab, and he was pleasant and interesting to talk to.

      Only one small problem – he was mad as a hatter, and stunk of stale wee.

      Still, I’d take him any day over most of the useless fruitloops I’ve met driving cabs.

      Posted by mr creosote on 2008 04 30 at 07:24 AM • permalink

 

    1. #24 #25 #26 Yes
      And from Adrian Neylan’s blog of Sydney taxi stories.

      Well after midnight at a quiet suburban rank a fight broke out over queue jumping, despite there being half a dozen vacant cabs.

      There’s more including: Listen to her in the dispute’s final 30 seconds – Download Hysterical.mp3)

      Posted by stackja1945 on 2008 04 30 at 07:25 AM • permalink

 

    1. I drove a cab once for 3 months. I wouldn’t do it again unless I was armed.

      Posted by dean martin on 2008 04 30 at 07:39 AM • permalink

 

    1. #19. They are only unskilled at cab driving, not nuclear physics and elementary geology.

      I won’t catch a cab at all, these days if I can help it. I’m over being ripped off, and I’ve had enough dodgy drivers to last me a life time.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2008 04 30 at 07:41 AM • permalink

 

    1. #34 – my goodness, that is completely mental.  No cab for her.  More like a white van and men in white coats with nets.

      Posted by mr creosote on 2008 04 30 at 08:52 AM • permalink

 

    1. Suggestions:  Mapquest and rental cars.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2008 04 30 at 10:07 AM • permalink

 

    1. Because her attacker had a record as long as your arm he “plea bargained” and got a lighter sentence.

      Wait. He was a repeat offender and that earned him a lighter sentence?

      Posted by Rob Crawford on 2008 04 30 at 10:16 AM • permalink

 

    1. #26 – Kae, your friend’s story speaks volumes about the courts here. As #17 says, its another reason why we are getting the taxi drivers that we are.

      Posted by Bohemond on 2008 04 30 at 05:29 PM • permalink

 

    1. #40
      If I recall correctly, he was wanted for other stuff, and was already in the system (evidenced by his bail card left behind in the cab). Perhaps he plead guilty to a lesser charge to save from prison?
      My friend NEVER had to go to court about it.
      She was unhappy about that, that he could trade his way out of it. She’d actually been injured. He nearly dislocated her shoulder.

      Posted by kae on 2008 04 30 at 05:43 PM • permalink

 

    1. Oh, sure. THESE guys we get pictures of.

      The “scantily-clad cheerleaders”? Not so much.

      Posted by mojo on 2008 04 30 at 05:47 PM • permalink

 

    1. Next time you see one of those stories on television about how “racist” taxi drivers are, and how they never stop to pick-up veiled Moslem women or Aboriginals etc. remember these guys!
      Those stories never actually show you the guys behind the wheel of those racist taxis, they just show you the taxi failing to stop and the poor, stranded minority. These sleazy TV programs bend-over backward to give viewers the impression that the drivers are white.
      When was the last time you ever saw a white taxi driver?

      Posted by Brian on 2008 04 30 at 09:19 PM • permalink

 

  1. These guys are fighting the wrong fight.  They should be demanding changes to the criminal justice system not subsidies for security devices.

    Of course the issue of harassment and crimes committed by taxi drivers also needs to be addressed.

    Posted by monaro on 2008 05 01 at 12:52 AM • permalink