herald

Saturday 14 December 2019

'Rude' taxi driver called passenger 'scumbag' over tip

The passenger complained to National Transport Authority
The passenger complained to National Transport Authority

A taxi driver who called his passenger "scumbag" and "disgrace to the human race", has been fined €200 by Judge Anthony Halpin at Dublin District Court.

Brian Markham (50), of Glen Ellan Grove, Swords, Co Dublin, was also ordered to pay €300 in prosecution costs following his hearing yesterday.

He had pleaded not guilty but was convicted of breaking taxi regulations by using abusive language to a passenger.

In evidence, passenger Olan Callinan told Judge Halpin he complained to the National Transport Authority (NTA) after hiring Markham's taxi on December 28 last year.

The run was from Dublin Airport to his home in Ballsbridge.

Mr Callinan, a barrister, told the court he and his mother had arrived back from America.

He said the taxi driver "told me he would not help with the bags". Mr Callinan said he had no difficulty with that and he put their luggage in the boot.

At one stage, Mr Callinan decided to pull down a rear window by about six inches but the driver put it back up using his controls. He accused Markham of abruptly saying: "The window is up, and it stays up."

He was concerned he and his mother, who had just had an operation, would be left on the side of the road, he said. He told Markham there was no need to say it like that and said he found it quite rude and aggressive.

Mr Callinan said the driver responded, "If I'm rude, that's the way I am."

There was no further conversation until they reached their home and his mother got out.

Mr Callinan said he wanted to pay the exact fare and not give him "one cent more" of a tip because of his rudeness.

Slammed

He said he asked the fare and was told €29 but he alleged Markham wanted €30. The driver told him, "We round up that is what we do", he alleged.

He said the driver was getting "very het up".

He opened the boot at which Markham "slammed" it shut.

Mr Callinan said the driver became increasingly volatile and started to call him and his father, who had come out of the house, "scumbags". Markham admitted he told Mr Callinan's father, "You and your son are a disgrace to the human race", before leaving the scene.

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