A private-hire driver was left for dead after suffering a fractured skull in an attack in Brierley Hill town centre.
Mohammed Ahmed was beaten up by a group of men who fled, leaving nearby residents to raise the alarm on Sunday night.
The 60-year-old victim was taken to Russells Hall Hospital in a critical condition, but police said he is now “comfortable and recovering”.
The shocking attack was condemned by Shaz Saleem, chairman of the Dudley Private Hire and Taxi Association.
He said Mr Ahmed, who works for the Brierley Hill-based Newline Taxis, had little memory of what happened, but could recall a group of men arguing with him about why he could not pick them up in Bell Street South, shortly before 9.30pm.
Mr Saleem, who spoke to Mr Ahmed from his bedside, said: “He told them they needed to ring up and book a taxi, because he is a private hire driver not a hackney carriage driver.
“His memory of what happened is blurred, but it was a totally shocking incident and it’s very disheartening for one of our members to be attacked like this.
“He was left for dead and I am very grateful to residents who heard something going on and raised the alarm.”
Mr Saleem said Mr Ahmed was knocked out by the first punch and did not know whether he had got out of his vehicle or whether he was pulled out.
He added: “This is a very unfortunate incident and something we have been fearing for a while.
“Driver safety is a massive issue for the association and, as well as public safety, the council must ensure the safety of all of our drivers.
“All of our drivers are DBS checked, but the passengers aren’t. We have no idea who the people we pick up are or what they might do.
“We used to work closely with the police and the council who helped us set up our taxi watch, but with the police changes and cuts to the funding, the support from the authorities isn’t there like it used to be.
“It is vitally important that more is done in order to protect our drivers and I am disappointed that it takes attacks on our workers – who are only trying to do their jobs – for the topic to be raised.”
Witnesses, or anyone with information about the attack, should call West Midlands Police on 101.