Taxi drivers have lifted the lid on life as a cabbie, describing the drunken verbal abuse and violence they face almost every night.
Two drivers spoke out after they were attacked last Saturday – one had his minicab stolen and smashed up while the other had his window broken with a bottle of vodka.
The pair called for passengers to give more personal information when they book to dissuade yobbish behaviour and help protect drivers.
Father-of-three Mehmood Hussain, 41, from Hampton, was attacked by two men after he picked them up from a kiosk outside McCluskeys nightclub in Kingston and took them to Chessington Industrial Estate.
He described how his Honda Accord was stolen and later found smashed into a bollard at the junction of Sanger Avenue and Cox Lane.
He said: “I was scared something would happen. They were getting more and more angry. One guy grabbed me from the back with his arm around my neck.
“I pushed his arm up and my head went down and I managed to escaped but my car keys dropped.”
The same night Mohammad Reza Raghami, 47, from Twickenham, picked up three men from the same kiosk to take them to a nightclub at Tower Bridge.
But on the way they started attacking each other.
He stopped in Hanworth where one of them threw a bottle, which smashed the car’s rear window.
He said: “My job is at night opposite the club and 80 to 85 per cent of my customers are drunk.
“They shout at me and speak badly to me and sometimes punch me and are sick in the car.”
Frank Evans, of Kingston Town Cars, which operates the kiosk, said he was considering bringing in head cameras for kiosk operators.
He said: “Unfortunately when you are dealing with people with drink and drugs it is a well-known part of our trade that they think they can beat people up and not pay their fares.
“It is very difficult. You can’t ask for a passenger’s ID. These guys give false names anyway a lot of the time.”
* Kingston police said a 30-year-old from New Malden and a 31-year-old man from Chessington, had been arrested on suspicion of stealing a minicab and released on bail.