By Nicole Froio, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A taxi driver who dragged a passenger to avoid giving R$4 in change will be facing charges for assault. Rosemberg Amaro da Silva allegedly denied his clients change and then tried to drive off, dragging a Colombian tourist who had just arrived in Rio with him as he drove away.
Da Silva’s service was not a pleasant affair from the very beginning as it started with a heated argument about pricing. He picked up Sandra Catalina Roncances, her parents and her sister at the Santos Dumont Airport, where they asked him to turn on the taxi meter, which he only agree to do after much persistence from his clients.
Later, when dropping off the family at their hotel in Glória, he refused to give her the R$4 change when Roncances demanded her money back. When trying to drive away, he dragged her for a few meters, hurting her chest, hands, face and legs.
After Roncances finally let go of the taxi, Da Silva allegedly fled the scene, taking no responsibility for the tourist he just hurt.
Roncances identified Da Silva, but he has told reporters he never argued with the family about the taxi meter and that Roncances simply lost balance and wasn’t dragged by him at all.
This was the family’s first trip to Rio, and they say they will never come back. “I’m too scared and too afraid to take taxi or other transportation in Rio,” Roncances told O Globo.
The incident happened a week after the fixed prices of taxis stationed at Santos Dumont Airport were significantly lowered by Rio’s Board of Transport. Secretary Carlos Roberto Osório implemented the measure one day after he took office, and he plans to do the same for other airports in Rio, to make sure tourists are not being fooled when it comes to taxi prices.
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