02 June 2010

Taxi violence in Britain?

In South Africa, sad to relate, stories of shootings at taxi ranks are all too common, as taxi bosses hire hitmen to take out their rivals. There have even been threats uttered against Johannesburg's new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, and I believe someone was shot a month or two ago when a new route opened.

Until now I've not heard of taxi violence in Britain. But now Sky News is reporting shooting incidents at a taxi rank in Whitehaven (north-west of London, where the 2012 Olympic Games are to be held), which are possibly connected with taxi rivalries. Body Of Suspected Gunman Found After Shootings Across Cumbria | UK News | Sky News:
Police have found a body believed to be that of Derrick Bird, who was being hunted over shootings across the Lake District.

The body was found in a wooded area near Boot, where Bird, 52, had abandoned his car.

Police hunting Bird found a gun in the area where the body was discovered.

Local reports are putting the number of fatalities in the shooting spree as high as 10, including one person killed in Duke Street, Whitehaven.

It hasn't been confirmed yet that it is taxi-related violence, but that is what some people seem to be saying.

In South Africa the taxi "industry" is one of the finest examples of the unfettered free market in actiion, with minimal government regulation. It's a free-for-all out there, the nearest thing to laissez faire you can find. If there is a serious incident, in which 5 or more people are killed, the government does get involved, to the extent of trying to broker a peace deal between the rival taxi bosses, rather as they are trying to do between ZANU-PF and the MDC in Zimbabwe.

Itn't capitalism marvellous?


CherryPie said...

It was rather alarming to here about the shootings, it will be interesting to find out what exactly was going on.

bigbluemeanie said...

What we have heard so far is that he's a taxi driver, and his victims were all taxi drivers and friends. Not sure if that classifies it as a "taxi-related" incident in the way that you mean though (e.g. the taxi turf-wars in South Africa).

Steve Hayes said...

Yes, it does seem to have been murder in "hot blood" rather than the cold-blooded calculated terrorism of the South African taxi-wars, where people don't shoot those against whom they hold personal grudges, but merely to discourage others from using taxis owned by rival operators.


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