Some taxi drivers are refusing to operate in west Dublin after a spate of robberies including one in which a cabbie was held at knifepoint by three teenage thugs.
Two incidents in Tyrrelstown and Clonee on December 30 in which drivers were targeted have led some operators to fear for their safety.
One taxi driver told how he picked up two young men from Parnell Street in the city centre and drove to Tyrrelstown where they robbed his dash cam and cash.
In a second more sinister incident on the same night, a passenger held a knife to a taxi man’s throat and stole his night’s takings.
The incident occurred at 12.50am on New Year’s Eve. The Tyrrelstown thieves took the dash cam in the belief that they would not be traceable – but the footage recorded was uploaded to cloud storage and later posted on social media.
A garda spokesperson confirmed they were investigating the robberies but no arrests had been made as yet.
Drivers now believe thugs out to rob them or flee without paying their fare are now using taxi apps to screen potential victims based on their age and fitness level.
The driver targeted in Tyrrelstown on December 30 said the thugs who booked him had used a popular app which shows a photo of the driver.
He revealed: “I’ve been told since that they had requested and declined several taxis before they eventually chose me, probably on that basis that I’m a bit older and less likely to go after them.”
He added: “It would make me think twice about working Tyrrelstown again, and there are other taxi drivers who have said the same thing. It leaves you shaken.”
There was a similar spate of armed robberies and assaults on taxi drivers operating in Tyrrelstown, Ongar, Clonee and Blanchardstown around the same time last year.
On New Year’s Eve 2017, a driver was threatened with an imitation firearm and robbed in the Hazelbury Park area of Clonee.
Cabbies set up a messaging group which allows them to share their location with others any time they feel under threat – and alerts gardai.