City leader blasts taxi harassment

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The head of Oslo’s city government, Stian Berger Røsland, called an emergency meeting on Wednesday with both local taxi companies and police after several women have reported being sexually harassed by taxi drivers. “This is completely unacceptable,” Røsland told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

City government leader Stian Berger Røsland from the Conservative Party sees great economic development prospects from an Olympics, and is keen to exploit the success of the last Olympics held in Norway by reusing facilities in and around Lillehammer. PHOTO: OSLO2022/Oslo kommune

City government leader Stian Berger Røsland is calling a meeting with taxi companies and the police to address sexual harassment of female passengers. PHOTO: Oslo kommune

Several women have told NRK that they’ve been subjected to sexual harassment by taxi drivers. After NRK reported the harassment on its morning radio broadcasts nationwide, many more women responded by saying they, too, had been victims of harassment.

Some say they’ve been both verbally and physical abuse, or that aggressive taxi drivers have refused to let them out of the car or drive them to the correct destination. Others have “invited themselves” to late-night parties, or suggested they come home with their female passengers.

In one case, a woman who had taken a taxi home from a football match on a Tuesday evening told NRK that her driver began telling her she was pretty and that she looked like “a superstar.” Then he proceeded to ask whether she enjoyed oral sex, repeating the question “at least 10 times and making perverse gestures with his mouth and fingers,” she told NRK. “Then I got scared. I yelled that he had to stop the car and I got out.” She said that a friend of hers had a similar experience with another taxi driver.

“These are people who shouldn’t be taxi drivers,” Røsland told NRK. “What we need to do now, both within the branch, the city and the police, is to make sure that we have the necessary means to prevent such people from becoming taxi drivers.”

Oslo Taxi has received around 30 complaints about its drivers, NRK reported, while Norgestaxi has received six. There currently is no common complaints bureau for the entire branch, something which the state consumer council (Forbrukerrådet) has noted.

“We need to see what we can do, or whether we need help from the Parliament or the state government,” Røsland said. “We have the possibility of seizing their licenses, police can retract permission for taxis to operated, and the branch can clearly decide who they want as drivers. There are many possibilities here.” Incidents of harassment are not unique to Oslo, and have been reported in other Norwegian cities as well.

Røsland encouraged anyone experiencing harassment to report it to the police. Lars Dolva, information chief at Oslo Taxi, was glad the city’s top government official was reacting as he did. “It’s important that we all sit around the same table and go through this,” Dolva told NRK. “Then we can decide what we can do.” Berglund

  • No_offence_intended

    “We need to see what we can do, or whether we need help from the Parliament or the state government,” Yes – you can stop letting in immigrants from countries who have a very backward approach towards women. I am afraid to say it, but the probabilities are, that the drivers are from the said aforementioned countries.

    • John Palmer

      I don’t know if pepper spray is legal in Norway. Even better is UDAP Bear Spray. A legal defensive weapon for the car or home is a dry chemical fire extinguisher. The cloud of dust will buy time to escape. Hitting the offender over the head with the cylinder might constitute “excessive force” though it would certainly be a temptation. I have 2 daughters and am very sensitive to women’s rights, harassment, etc.

    • NightOrDay100

      “… stop letting in immigrants from countries who have a very backward approach towards women.” ??! Really? There’s an assumption underlying this recommendation, and it certainly involves punishing others who may be innocent for the reputaton of a country. There are better solutions, surely?

    • BobBobbyBobertsen

      So you’re advocating taking drastic measures in response to obscenities toward women from people you presume to be from certain countries you obviously hate passionately (as if Western men have never said anything obscene to a woman). I wonder if you were calling for right wing bigots to be kept out of Norway after ABB killed 77 innocent people (mostly children). We know where ultra right wing bigots like Anders Breivik usually come from, they’re the EDL types from Britain and her former prison colonies. Maybe we should stop importing bigots from certain English speaking countries, we have enough racists in Norway as it is. Or do you think making obscene gestures toward a woman is worse than killing 77 people, and warrants a greater overreaction?

      It’s clear as day that you’re a bigot “voice of reason”, “comment approved”, or whatever you’re calling yourself these days. Don’t you have anything more productive to do than share your prejudices with the world? You come across as lacking intelligence and basic human decency.

      • No_offence_intended

        Drastic measures could also involve a much more inclusive integration program for migrants who come from cultures which are completely at odds with those in western europe and the western world. Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, you also have an overpresentation of non westerners in the rape figures.

        I say it as I see it. I don’t lack intelligence, but don’t have the time to write you an essay backed up by facts, so sometimes sweeping generalisations are made, perhaps incorrectly. I do make presumptions, based on personal experiences and of what i’ve read. I have taken taxi’s in Oslo (only when I must, for the cost reasons mentioned elsewhere) at night, and in those 5 years, I cannot remember one white Norwegian driver. They are in bed. Unwilling to work the hours/put up with drunks. Your link to ABB is atrocious and highly offence as if implying I could ever condone such behavior. All extremism is dangerous.

        However, there has to be room for a debate around immigration, without being tarnished with this brush, at which you are trying to tarnish me with now.

        My name was changed on request from the moderator as it caused confusion. I deplore your aspersions of me as a bigot. I am very compassionate.

        • BobBobbyBobertsen

          Good of you to admit that the generalizations are not helpful, and thank you for a reasonable response.

          If you’ll make an effort to avoid such comments in the future, then I’m sure we’ll be able to find a lot to agree on, and there can be more fruitful discussions on these issues.

          Apologies for not giving you the benefit of the doubt before.

      • Robert Neve

        He’s the bigot? You just claimed Britain and all the ‘prison’ colonies are racists. How’s that for a bigoted, generalized statement? You know the only people I have seen use that sort of talk about Britain recently are? Robert Mugabe and Yahya Jammeh. Oddly both dictators trying to blame someone else. If you knew anything on which you spoke you would know every time the EDL has attempted to hold a rally they have barely managed to get over 10 people to show up and that’s only ever a fraction of the anti-edl rally called at the side of it.

        Norway needs to acknowledge it has a problem and deal with it. And that’s not just encouraging the foreigners to integrate and offering them help to do so. It’s about getting Norwegians to want to integrate back and drop their ridiculous preconceptions.

  • Robert Cumming

    Golly and who makes up the vast majority of taxi drivers in Norway, it’s not ethnic Norwegians that’s for sure.

  • Robert Neve

    They maybe mostly ethnic but that doesn’t mean they are not born and raised in Europe if not Norway. Nore does it say the drivers where not the Norwegian ones. Surely this is the reason ID is hanging in taxies. Just make it so the id cards are bigger and easier to see. Maybe even have one in the back that could be photographed by a phone and a cctv camera like police cars do. Then have a very robust procedure for reporting and punishing taxi drivers.

    • NightOrDay100

      Good points all round. But, the use of “ethnic” could be confusing here. There’re – well, how to say this?! – “ethnic Norwegians” too 😉

      • Robert Neve

        I know but I have given up trying to correct the usage and just using it in the way they expect

  • No_offence_intended

    A response to yesterday’s news most likely.

  • John

    There is an app for people wanted a bit more safety when taking an unknown taxi:

  • Robert Cumming

    Since most taxi drivers in Oslo are immigrants you’re far more likely to get screwed over by one.

    • Observer2796

      How’s this drosje industry work in no-way? Buy a decent car do a city street knowledge test w/o GPS and speak and dress well? Do they require EM knowledge?Dunno but the ones I’ve met did not come across as being too intelligent.

      • Robert Cumming

        I’ve no idea.

      • Robert Neve

        That’s London. I believe they just need a 3 year, clean driving licence for insurance purposes. Could be wrong though

  • Robert Cumming

    What’s ABB got to do with taxi drivers? I struggle to find a link? Was he a taxi driver before he became a mass murderer?

  • Kanon25

    If the head of the city govt has time to make pronouncements on taxi policy, it would be nice if he spoke on the biggest problem, which actually affects 100% of taxi users, 100% of the time. This problem:

    Specifically the entire thing is a ripoff. You sit in the taxi in and you are already bumping up on US$20, even if you drive 2 blocks! You sit in that taxi after having a drink or two on a weekend and you’re not far off of 30 bucks! And for this you get a taxi drive that, regardless of their ethnic origin, typically, is weak on customer service and doesn’t know much about the streets other than what the GPS tells them.

    Or let me put it this way, who in the city govt is benefitting from this ripoff situation, while pretending to be very concerned in the consumer’s interests?

  • Robert Neve

    fine we’re just the source of them even though the koran burning preachers, the west baptist church and the KKK are all American and anders is Norwegian but sure blame Britain. And you can’t count the US as British given that it’s a huge influx of many nations and they broke away centuries ago. The other nations were that much of a prison colony they still keep the queen as head of state. But I give up with this thread. Left corner bigots meet right corner bigots. I expect a dirty fact free fight knock yourselves out.