Toronto cab driver stabbed repeatedly in face

Toronto police drivers say they need better protection from police after a driver was stabbed several times in the face on Monday night.

A Toronto taxi driver is in hospital after he was stabbed in the face multiple times on Monday night.

Police say that at about 8 p.m. on Monday, the driver was asked to transport a passenger to the Yonge and Sheppard area. Shortly into the ride, the driver was jumped by his passenger and stabbed multiple times, according to police.

"At some point a struggle ensued," Toronto police Const. Wendy Drummond told CBC News.

The driver, a 57-year-old Eritrean native named Khalil Takle, is in hospital with multiple stab wounds to the face. Takle, who has worked in the industry for more than 20 years, has non-life-threatening injuries but his wounds have left him unable to speak.

Police say the suspect was photographed by the cab's security camera. They have released two of the images to the public see link at right. He is between 20 and 30 years of age and was last seen wearing a ski jacket.

Some drivers who spoke to CBC News said getting robbed or assaulted is a regular occurrence for those who drive cabs at night.

"When you say 'I'm a taxi driver' nobody cares about you," a driver named Abdul told CBC News. "Even the police officer. You get stuck in a situation, you call for the police officer, they come after two hours. It's happened to too many guys."

"The response is too slow," said Sajid Mughal of the Toronto taxi drivers' association. Mughal did say the number of assaults against cab drivers has dropped since Toronto cabs began using security cameras in 1998.

Collins, also of the taxi drivers' association, said the public and city officials need to hold drivers in higher regard.

"Taxi drivers provide a valuable service to this city," said Collins. "The city would be crippled from a transportation point of view if there were no taxi drivers."