Rock-throwing kids in Thompson endangering cab drivers

Groups of children in Thompson, Man., have been throwing rocks at taxi cabs while the drivers are behind the wheel.

Drivers, city officials and RCMP begin talks to address dangerous, costly problem

Harpit Ghai, owner of Driftwood Nickel Taxi Company, says every windshield broken by stone-throwing children costs his company $600. (Courtesy: Harpit Ghai)

Taxi cabs in Thompson, Man., are under siege by gangs of rock-throwing children.

According to the owner of Driftwood Nickel Taxi Company, in the past year about a dozen vehicles in his fleet have been damaged by groups of kids throwing rocks and using air rifles while his drivers were behind the wheel.
A rock thrown by a child broke the rear window of this car. (Courtesy: Harpit Ghai)

"It cost for each window $600. We have to go through Autopac, we have to pay the deductible of $600," Harpit Ghai told CBC News.

He says the problem escalated to the point that his drivers threatened to go on strike earlier this week, but he managed to persuade them to continue driving.

Ghai says the RCMP recently apprehended some of the vandals, but because they have been between 11 and 12 years old the penalties that can be imposed are quite limited.

Advisory posted on city website

​In response to the problem, the city has posted an advisory on its homepage warning of the dangers and potential repercussions of throwing objects at vehicles.
The City of Thompson has been circulating this ad online to warn against throwing rocks at vehicles. (City of Thompson)

The city manager for Thompson says meetings with stakeholders are underway.

"It's a concern for them, for the safety of their drivers," Gary Ceppetelli told CBC News. "They have come to us and we have setup a meeting [with the RCMP] in order to try to address the issue."

The RCMP did not immediately respond to question about the issue, but city officials confirmed a meeting is to take place Friday afternoon with the local detachment.

According to drivers, the incidents are primarily concentrated in the eastern-most part of the city on Princeton Drive between the University College of the North and the Highland Towers apartment building.
Most of the incidents are concentrated on a small stretch of road on Princeton Drive, worried cabbies say.

Ceppetelli says it's not clear whether taxis are being specifically targeted, or whether it's just mischievous behaviour in general.

"Hopefully the [parents] can relay the message to their kids that this is not an acceptable activity," he said.

Taxi cabs in Thompson, Man., are under siege by gangs of rock-throwing children. According to the owner of Driftwood Nickel Taxi Company, in the past year about a dozen vehicles in his fleet have been damaged by groups of kids throwing rocks and using air rifles while his drivers were behind the wheel. 1:22

With files from Meaghan Ketcheson and Pat Kaniuga