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May 17, 2003

Mother furious after taxi leaves deaf girl stranded

From: Cambridge Evening News, UK - May 17, 2003


A MOTHER is demanding action after a school-run taxi driver left her deaf five-year-old daughter alone on her doorstep.

Samira Akerbousse said her daughter Xandria's life was put in danger when the Camtax United driver left the child facing a locked door yesterday evening.

"I'm absolutely disgusted. I was a few minutes late home from work and found her stood there," she said.

"She was completely on her own. Anybody could have been walking past and grabbed her. You hear about it happening every day."

Ms Akerbousse, of Daisy Close in Arbury, Cambridge, now wants the service, funded and managed by Cambridgeshire County Council, to be taken out of the firm's hands.

Until it is, she says she will find alternative ways of getting Xandria to and from Mayfield School in Warwick Road.

Ms Akerbousse said she did not know how long her daughter had been standing on the doorstep.

"It's lucky nothing happened to her but I can't take that risk, you just can't do that to children," she added.

Tony Sumner, manager of Camtax United, said the driver had spotted Ms Akerbousse on her bike near to her home before deciding to drop the youngster off.

"With hindsight it wasn't the right thing to do, and possibly he should have stayed with her," he said.

"We vet drivers and we try to get a regular driver to do the runs but sometimes it isn't possible."

Mr Sumner added the driver had driven back past the house to check everything was all right.

But Ms Akerbousse said: "When I saw him I didn't know him, so I don't know how he could recognise me on a bike."

Paul Nelson, education transport manager for the county council, said: "From our point of view this is unacceptable, we would have expected the driver to wait.

"We will now be considering looking for alternative taxi firms to take over the run."

©2003 Cambridge Newspapers