A Wollongong taxi driver is in hot water after being caught apparently smoking in his taxi.
Ryan, a driver behind the taxi, spotted the smoking cabbie as he travelled north along the Princes Highway on Wednesday morning
He took two photos of the driver – one at the Lysaght Street intersection and again at the roundabout at Mt Ousley Road.
In the second photo, the driver’s arm is hanging out the window and he appears to be holding a lit cigarette between his fingers.
The number plate on the taxi is clearly readable in the photo but the Mercury has chosen to blur it out.
Ryan, who did not wish for his surname to be published, sent the photos to the Mercury and to Wollongong Radio Cabs.
“He would have a puff then hang his hand back out the window,” Ryan said.
“He did not have any passengers but I believe taxis are smoke-free meaning drivers and passengers cannot smoke in them.”
Ryan said he caught cabs himself and was not at all pleased with what he saw.
“I am not a smoker, and I cannot stand the smell,” he said.
“I catch taxis when I'm going out or often when I'm on my way home from a night out. This is very poor behaviour.”
He suggested this was “just another reason to use Uber when it comes to Wollongong”.
Wollongong Radio Cabs general manager John Megas had not seen the images of the smoking cabbie, but he was fuming.
“It’s a government regulation that no driver driving any public transport vehicle, whether it’s a taxi or a bus, should be smoking,” Mr Megas said.
“If the driver was doing that and I can find out who it is, then I will come down on them. They will be reprimanded, If not suspended or penalised for doing so.
“Once I find out who the driver is, he will be brought before the board and severely penalised for doing this.”
Mr Megas confirmed that it was illegal for drivers to smoke in taxis, regardless of whether a passenger was on board.