Portland cab company orders partitions after attack

NOW: Taxi company calls for partitions

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Joe Kamysz was driving a 207 taxi early Friday morning, when he says his passenger announced he would cut him; then did. 

The attack happened around 1:45 a.m. in the parking lot of PT's Showclub. Police said Justin Kristiansen pulled out a knife and stabbed Kamysz in the neck and the hand before fleeing on foot.

Kamysz says he's never felt unsafe driving in Portland before; that it's a fairly safe city. His boss, however, says he's been wanting to install partitions in company cabs for a while, but that the city was against them.

"Portland is known as the small local town safe night life is great let's have a good time, but it's time to protect the drivers," said Craig Cobbett. 

Cobbett says he has heard other cab companies have been told by city officials they can't install plexiglass between their drivers and passengers.

City spokesperson, Jessica Grondin, says the city has no say in that. "It's not written in the code that it's something they can't do," said Grondin. "So we told the owner - after researching it - that he can do it."

Cobbett said he ordered the partitions immediately.

Grondin admitted she couldn't explain the past, and that the Permitting and Inspections Department was a new addition to the city, so she wasn't sure where Cobbett's information came from. 

Other cab companies NEWS CENTER spoke with including ASAP, National Cab Airport Taxi, and Ferrantes all said they don't want partitions. 

Steve Kuntz, owner of ASAP, said what happened on Friday was an isolated event, "If we let fear dictate our business and who we are, we change who we are."

Kuntz said most of his drivers agree that keeping the cabs open is more conversational and more fitting to the friendly atmosphere of Portland.

Michael Ferrante of Ferrantes Taxi agreed that "it would prevent communicating."

Both understood why 207 Taxi would want more protection after their attack.

 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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