A Kudjila and Gangalu artist says a taxi driver asked him to pay upfront as he was trying to make his way home from Sydney airport.
Keira Jenkins

1 Jun 2021 - 3:56 PM  UPDATED 1 Jun 2021 - 3:56 PM

On Sunday evening Kudjila and Gangalu artist Daniel Boyd was making his way home to Marrickville in Sydney's inner west from Cairns, in North Queensland where he had been visiting family.

He jumped in a taxi at the airport, where he said he was racially profiled by the driver, who asked Mr Boyd to prepay his fare.

"I asked him why -he'd asked for prepayment- and he said he didn't believe that I would pay for the service," Mr Boyd said.

"He told me he didn't trust me. I felt like it's not his right to choose who is trustworthy and who is not."

Mr Boyd, who is a celebrated artist, exhibiting his work both internationally and across the country, said this is not the first experience of this kind he's had, and was 'disappointed' to have it happen again.

"I was hopeful that events of the past year might change things and change how my interaction with taxi services would go," he said.

"But that wasn't the case."

Company backs driver

WAV CABS, the company the driver represents, said in a statement that the driver had acted appropriately in the situation and there would be no repercussions.

The Australian Taxi Drivers Association president Michael Jools also backed the driver, saying a driver can ask for a prepayment if he has concerns about whether a passenger will pay.

"In this case, the driver has had several runners going to Marrickville and he's been unable to collect the fares from those passengers," he said.

"He's now adopted, personally, a habit of asking passengers either for a deposit or prepayment if they're going to Marrickville.

"What made him a little more suspicious was that the passenger, who was very ready to use his camera a little later, did not scan the QR code, which would have established for an independent party... his identity."

'Fundamentally wrong'

Mr Boyd said he was not asked to scan a QR code, and this explanation for the driver's actions falls short.

"That's not a reason for a driver to expect that's what I'm going to do," he said.

"To blanket a whole area because of a couple of incidents is unjust. There's something fundamentally wrong with profiling the whole neighbourhood because of a couple of incidents."

Mr Boyd said he hopes speaking out about this experience might prevent someone else from going through the same thing.

"I don't want this happening to First Nations people on a regular basis," he said.

"I want them to be able to take a cab down the street and get the same service that everyone else gets."

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