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Sunday, December 14, 2003

The Dragon crashes

The Wales on Sunday today carries a big feature about how Christmas revellers are putting a huge strain on the emergency services. However, it is possible to contribute to this burden even when one is being sensible. On Friday the Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Staff and AMs had their Christmas Party. It was a meal at the Chapter Arts Centre in Canton. I drove to Cardiff straight after my surgeries in Port Talbot and Porthcawl and then checked into a hotel. I asked the hotel to get me a taxi, which they subsequently did. The taxi firm involved was one of the main Cardiff companies called Dragon Taxis. The driver took me from my hotel to Canton in appalling weather. As we got to Canton Cross, the lights by the Tesco Extra changed, but rather than stop my taxi driver accelerated through them on amber and slammed into the vehicle in front, which had stopped for the next set of lights. Fortunately, I was wearing my seat belt and although shocked, was able to continue my journey on foot. I later rang the cab company to get the details of the driver in the event that I might need to take the matter further but they refused to co-operate. I intend to pursue the issue on Monday morning but I will not be using that taxi company again. The point is that if we cannot rely on taxi drivers to get us safely to our destination during Christmas festivities then no wonder the emergency services are hard-pressed. Equally, we should expect that the taxi companies would be more co-operative. The people I spoke to seemed more concerned with the drivers' insurance premium than with the well-being of the passenger whose life had been put at risk by their driver's recklessness.

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