Veteran taxi driver robbed in daylight

THE boss of Ballarat Taxis says an armed robbery of a taxi driver in Sebastopol in the middle of the day is an isolated incident.

In broad daylight on Friday afternoon a taxi driver was robbed after two passengers threatened him with a knife in Parkgate Lane, off Victoria Street.

The incident occurred just before 4pm, when two men threatened the veteran driver with a knife and made away with cash.

Ballarat Taxis chairman Stephen Armstrong said he was shocked at the violent nature of the crime, especially given it occurred during the middle of the day.

However, he said it was a one-off incident and that driver safety in Ballarat was actually very high.

About 900,000 taxi fares trips are made each year and Friday’s robbery was the first serious incident for a number of years, according to Mr Armstrong.

“It’s unbelievable that it’s so brazen and done in the middle of the day,” he said.

“The driver has been driving for 30 years. He is a little bit shaken by it but it’s not like it is going to stop him driving or anything. When you look at the stats, it is a one-in-a-million type thing.”

All cabs in Ballarat are now fitted with CCTV cameras and drivers also have the option of installing protective barriers within their cars.

Mr Armstrong said the driver who was robbed had chosen not to have the protective barrier in his car.

“Most of our drivers don’t like the screens, but it is up to them if they want them or not,” he said.

“If someone is intent on robbing you they are probably going to do it regardless of whether there is a screen or not.”

Police say the incident has been captured on CCTV cameras and investigations into the incident are ongoing.

patrick.nolan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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