The dispute broke out after the Yellow Cab driver, RanjitShergill, picked up four passengers — a man and three women — from Granville Street near Davie Street shortly before 1 a.m. PT.
Upon delivering the passengers to their destination at Drake Street and Marinaside Crescent, the male passenger verbally and then physically attacked 43-year-old Shergill, apparently over the $6.60 fare.
Vancouver Police Const. Brian Montague said Shergill's injuries were so bad, he had to have his jaw wired shut.
“The man allegedly punched the victim, before kicking and stomping him on his face as he lay seemingly unconscious on the street,” said Montague.
Police interviewed witnesses from nearby apartment buildings and reviewed video footage, before arresting a 29-year-old suspect, Lloyd Peter Robinson, Thursday afternoon and charging him with aggravated assault. He will remain in custody until his next court appearance.
Robinson is already known to police and has a history with the courts stretching back to 2003, when he was charged with aggravated assault in West Vancouver.
The outcome of that case is not known, but Robinson was found guilty of assault in Kelowna in 2010.
In 2012 he faced charges of causing “fear of injury or damage by another person” in Surrey. Again, the status of that case is not known.
Carolyn Bauer of Yellow Cabs says the attack on Shergill was unacceptable.
"You know these guys are all family members. They're sons they're dads, they're uncles, they're grandpas — and they come out to work just to do their job and to have someone do this is just tragic," said Bauer.
Kulwant Sahota, president of Yellow Cabs, says he too has been assaulted behind the wheel and more needs to be done to protect drivers from such attacks.
Measures he points to include emergency lights that would flash outside the cab when the driver is in trouble and forward-facing cameras on the inside of the cab.
Despite his brutal injuries, Shergill says the attack won't stop him driving again.
Robinson will remain in custody until his next court appearance.