Man dies after fight with Amsterdam taxi driver

By our news staff

Local authorities are to get more control over taxi drivers following the death of a passenger in a fight with a taxi driver on Sunday.

A 44-year-old man died in hospital early on Sunday morning after being hit in the face by a taxi driver at the Leidseplein in Amsterdam. The 37-year-old driver has been arrested, the police said.

The victim was successfully resuscitated on the street, but died in the hospital later on Sunday. It is not clear what started the fight.

There have been many complaints about taxi drivers since the market was liberalised in 2000. Drivers in Amsterdam are said to refuse short rides, overcharge and intimidate passengers and fight among each other.

Amsterdam city executive Hans Gerson called the incident "unacceptable" and announced emergency measures to tackle the situation at the Leidseplein, a busy nightspot where many problems with taxis have been reported. Starting next weekend, extra police and taxi inspectors will be deployed like they already have been at Amsterdam's Central Station, another trouble spot.

Gerson said he would also lobby the Dutch parliament to speed up a new taxi law. Deputy transport minister Tineke Huizinga will send a letter to parliament next week, announcing new measures giving local authorities more control over the taxi market. Among other things, they will be able to ban independent drivers from taxi stands.

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