On Saturday Morning April 29, 2017 at 1:00am Vijay Bhatia, 63 years old was beaten to death by a scumbag. This human garbage doesn’t deserve the notoriety that he seeks, so I refuse to name him. London Police haven’t release the motive yet, whether it was robbery or racially motivated, or just plain stupid anger; it doesn’t matter. A life was needlessly taken. The police quickly apprehended a suspect nearby and interviewed many eye witnesses. The police knew there was a camera system installed in the cab, and it would aid them in their investigation. The pictures were quickly downloaded and confirmed the suspect in custody was the passenger.
Vijay was a man involved in the taxi industry for a long time. He was involved with the launch of Yellow London Taxi years ago, and he owned and operated several cabs. He had a family. I wish I could have met his wife, daughter and grand daughter, and brother in-laws under better circumstances. I was in a daze for most of the day but my in no way would I be experiencing the level of grief being experienced by the family at that moment, or even as you read this. Hopefully the family will find the answers they need from the trial and the solace in knowing that he will be in jail for life.
I don’t normally pontificate on this forum. That may change. I’m not one for getting my name in the paper; I’m not motivated by glory, rather, the betterment of my fellow cabdriver. What I will say is that something I created with Nando Favaro did something right. That creation is the camera system that took the pictures of Vijay’s murderer. Hundreds of clear pictures that will help seal the murderer’s fate, along with the forensic evidence collected at the scene and in the car.
Recently the City of London passed a new bylaw to regulate Uber. The most contentious issue at the time was the requirement for all Ubers to have cameras in their vehicle. This requirement passed committee and first reading. Uber mounted strong opposition for the second and final readings. Uber argued that it wasn’t necessary because their drivers were paid by credit card and they could comfort knowing exactly who their passenger was. Unfortunately for this arguement, the Manager of Licensing proved that all the passenger information could be faked. The City of London councilors chose to ignore that fact. Uber also argued that robbery was the only motivation for assault and murder and Uber drivers would be immune to this because they are cashless. Many assaults and murders on cab drivers are motivated by hate and prejudice. Uber drivers recommend to each other that they buy their own dash cam and aim them inwards to protect themselves.
The camera system installed in Vijay Bhatia’s cab and in every other cab and limousine virtually guarantees the conviction of any other animal contemplating assaulting a cabbie or doing worse. Uber drivers should be afforded the same security as cab drivers.
Vijay Bhatia deserves not to have died in vain. Lets have the council do the right thing and mandate cameras in every vehicle for hire.
London Taxi Association