Austin Cab Company has fired a driver after he reportedly refused to give a passenger a ride. Cell phone video given to FOX 7 has gone viral. You see the driver lose his temper and then turn physical.
The passenger asked to go to a place about a mile away. That's the reason he says the cab driver didn't want to take him. From there, things got out of hand.
"I have somewhere else to go," says driver with Austin Cab Company.
A cab ride turned violent quickly.
"Get out," says driver.
"Just tell me, why won't you take me to where I'm going? I'm recording this," says passenger.
It was supposed to be the safer option. In the cell phone video you see the driver get out of the cab and walk over to the passenger's door. The arguing escalates.
"Why won't you take me home?" says passenger. "Get out," says driver.
It happened over the weekend in Downtown Austin near 7th and Red River. The passenger, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells us he requested to go to East 6th street but that the driver responded with, "I'm trying to hustle" and that it was too close.
We spoke with Austin Cab Company about the video that has since gone viral.
"It's okay to get worked up. We understand it's stressful out there but just a little less, cut out the swearing and definitely no hands-on experience. Unless, you're assisting with the luggage or the door," says James Means III, manager, Austin Cab Company.
A meeting was held Monday morning with the driver in question. They came to the decision of termination based on what they say is a a violation of the city ordinance "failure to convey."
"Anytime a person gets into your car and you don't have a prior trip agreement, like let's say you had a special and you know the person's name, phone number and you're going there. Anytime someone gets into your car, as far as I know without your consent or with it, you are now for hire with that specific person," says Means.
The 25-year veteran cab driver paints a different story, claiming he wasn't available because he already had a scheduled fair.
"I was going to pick somebody else up, not him," says driver.
He called into KLBJ Monday morning and was on "The Todd and Don Show."
"All of a sudden there's an individual that jumps in my back seat. I tell this individual to get out of my cab; I've got somewhere to go. He's belligerent and drunk, telling me I can't refuse him and I'm breaking the law if I tell him to get out," says driver.
One thing they can both agree on, that there are more problems since Uber and Lyft left.
The driver says it's been chaotic, people get upset if they can't get picked up immediately. The passenger says he doesn't have a way to quickly provide feedback and rate the driver.
Austin Transportation Department posted this statement on Reddit:
The City of Austin will not tolerate taxi drivers who fail to act in a professional and courteous manner. Austin Transportation Department staff supports Austin Cab in its immediate action of terminating this driver’s contract. City Code Chapter 13-2 has requirements on driver conduct, as well as restrictions on refusal to transport passengers. If people would like to file a complaint against taxi operators, they can call 512-974-1551. That number should be posted in every taxi. People may also file a complaint online, email email@example.com, or visit the City’s Ground Transportation Division in person during normal business hours at 1111 Rio Grande Street. Austin Transportation Department staff will then work with the person filing the compliant and the taxi company to begin an investigation.