Is Mohamad Tohme the worst cab driver in Sydney?
EXCLUSIVE by Joe Hildebrand
The Daily Telegraph
December 13, 2010
MEET Mohamad Tohme. Despite tough competition, he might just be Sydney's worst taxi driver.
In 12 years on the road for four major cab companies, he has been accused of slapping, abusing and swearing at customers, refusing short fares and deliberately taking the longest possible route.
He once took a passenger from the airport to Annandale via Oxford St - during Mardi Gras. Last year, he was accused of exposing his genitals after a lewd suggestion to a dissatisfied customer.
Mr Tohme says he's just misunderstood, adding "I've got maybe bad people skills."
The Administrative Decisions Tribunal last week found those bad people skills include convictions for domestic violence and assaulting police and a business associate.During the Mardi Gras incident in 1998, he allegedly also demanded $50 - instead of the $32 on the meter - "because the trip had taken over 15 minutes". This, five other complaints and a 1999 conviction for bashing his wife with a shoe led the Department of Transport to ask him to show cause why his licence should not be revoked.
He asked for another chance and got a final warning. Then in 2004, he allegedly slapped a female passenger.
Fortunately for Mr Tohme, the charge of assault was withdrawn. However, two charges of resisting police and assaulting an officer were not.
Mr Tohme's taxi licence was suspended while he was ordered to undergo an anger- management course. When this was completed, he resumed driving. Between 2006 and 2008 there were another five complaints. In 2008, Mr Tohme was convicted of punching and kicking a "business associate" during a dispute at a service station.
His authority was cancelled but again he pleaded for mercy and it was reinstated for six months. Five months and one week later, in February 2009, a customer asked to be taken to Surry Hills.
According to a subsequent complaint, Mr Tohme refused, got out and "slammed the door so hard, something broke. He opened the door and started screaming".
Inexplicably, he kept driving. In May last year a Westin Hotel doorman complained that, when asked to take a short fare to King St Wharf, Mr Tohme told a passenger to "f ... off". At Darling Harbour in July last year, he allegedly refused fares to Glebe and Leichhardt, telling a passenger to "suck my penis" while exposing himself. The next month the department cancelled his authority.
Mr Tohme denied abusing customers or exposing himself, but tribunal member Peter Molony was "satisfied that he is not a fit and proper person todrive a taxi cab".