NEW YORK – Mayor Bloomberg announced that all New York cab drivers will be issued bullet proof vests.
New York City cab drivers will receive bulletproof vests as part of a program announced by Mayor Bloomberg. It is aimed at keeping the drivers safe.
The New York Federation of Taxi Drivers will hand out the vests to drivers in all boroughs. The first to get the vests will be drivers in the Bronx, followed by drivers in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
The goal is to distribute the vests to several bases – with users returning them after their shift is done so that the next drivers will be able to for use.
They’re the same vests worn by New York City Police Department officers. Even the Cash Cab host, Ben Baily, will be receiving a bullet proof vest:
Fernando Mateo, president of the Federation of Taxi Drivers. “But we’re going to reach out to NYPD, to individual police officers, and ask them that at the time they decide to retire, we would really appreciate if they can make a donation of their bulletproof vest to the federation, as well.”
Shooting and robberies have long plagued the cab industry. And in recent weeks, over three hundred NYC cab drivers have been shot. The vest program comes on the heels of the shooting of driver Trevor Bell, who was attacked after picking up a passenger in Queens earlier this month.
Some are not so happy about the cabbies getting vests. “Why do they get vests and we don’t?”, said frequent passenger Rashid Mamboi. “It’s not fair. What if they start shooting at us? They have protection from our guns, but we have no protection from their guns. They should hand out vests to all passengers too. There’s some crazy cabbies out there.”
Mayor Bloomberg is also considering giving bullet proof vests to New York firemen, sanitation workers and even the librarians at the New York Public Library. “I want to keep the citizens of New York safe. And there’s nothing safer than a bullet proof vest.”
Mayor Bloomberg wears a bullet proof vest every day. “It’s something you get used to. I put it on right before I grab my wallet.”
Some cabbies want military helmets as well. “A vest ain’t gonna do me much good, if they shoot me in the head,” said Cabbie Banesh Bannerjee. “I want a helmet too!”
Mayor Bloomberg told WWN this morning that he is looking into getting the cabbies helmets as well.