By JR on Monday, November 14, 2011
Pandering to Muslims again. What if a passenger has a problem with a driver? A name is a lot easier to remember than a number
Photo IDs set to be introduced in Brisbane taxis will no longer include drivers' names, due to a fear passengers may verbally abuse cabbies over their foreign names. From November 30, cab drivers in Brisbane and the Gold Coast will be required to display authorised Queensland taxi driver display cards in their cabs. The cards will include a photo and driver identification number, but not a name.
The government printed ID cards with full names for the Toowoomba roll-out earlier this year, but reissued new licences without names due to privacy and cultural concerns.
brisbanetimes.com.au understands during the Toowoomba roll-out in June, some drivers with names such as Muhammad were the target of racial abuse and harassment from customers.
"The taxi council made representations on behalf of their members to remove drivers' names from the Authorised Queensland Taxi Driver Display Card," a statement from Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk read. "This decision was made for privacy and cultural reasons. This is consistent with other states."
The cultural issue of what name was used on the card was also a stumbling block for the program, with drivers unhappy their preferred common name, or anglicised name, was not displayed.
Taxi Council of Queensland chief executive Blair Davies, who flagged privacy concerns with the identification program with brisbanetimes.com.au last year, said there had been an issue with what names were being transferred across from government records to the licences.
"The average person born in Australia has a first name and surname but depending on where you come from sometimes the first name is your family name, so it can get complicated, particularly in some cultures," he said.
"So we were seeing some quite strange results coming out on these cards. "They were typically using the first name and that can produce some quite inconsistent results. "But for some drivers their whole names were to be printed on the IDs."
Mr Davies said the IDs would provide an extra level of reassurance for passengers who would be able to match a driver with their photo, as well as use the identification number to report any issues.
But he indicated the current security system for cab drivers was better than those used in others states, with all Queensland drivers being required to enter a pin on dispatch to log on for their shift. Mr Davies said Queensland was the only state using this system.
The licence introduction is part of a raft of reforms introduced under the Queensland Taxi Strategic Plan, 2010-2015.
Ms Palaszczuk said the plan's implementation was progressing well, with the introduction of national training standards for taxi drivers improving customer service and passenger safety. "These standards raised the bar for taxi drivers across driving skills, geographical knowledge, customer service and safety issues," she said.