A TAXI driver feared for his life after being punched when picking a customer up.

Imtiyaz Mataq, who works for Metro Taxis, asked two men to take their feet off the seats.

But instead they became irate and wouldn’t listen to him, he says.

When he dropped them off, one of them punched him from behind, and the other opened the drivers’ door and punched him in his face.

He said: “I’m still suffering, and don’t know if I’m going to be threatened again.

“I was really shaken up on that day and I had to take the day off.

“It made made me scared to go to work.

“Action needs to be taken against them, because I don’t want this to happen to someone else.

“At the moment there is no-one to protect the drivers.”

The Bolton News: Imtiyaz Mataq after being attackedImtiyaz Mataq after being attacked

Both men ran off without paying their fare, he added.

Police have stressed that they are investigating last Friday’s incident, but haven’t yet identified a suspect.

It is not the first time the taxi operator has experienced a series of violent attacks.

In September 2021, manager Charlotte Else was working inside the taxi base when she was punched in the face.

Miss Else was trying to diffuse a situation between a drunken customer and a driver, when the customer struck her.

She said: “For weeks I didn’t want to face any customers.

“I was constantly looking left and right to see if anyone was there when going outside.”

Police are also investigating this incident, and are still looking for a suspect.

Nick Astley, owner of Bolton-based Metro Taxis, said: “Incidents where drivers are being attacked and physically injured are happening every few weeks.

“Our drivers have been putting up with so much and it’s been horrific.

“We feel very let down by the police.

“We want to feel that something is being done.”

The Bolton News: From left to right: Mahmood Akhtar, Imtiyaz Mataq, and Nick AstleyFrom left to right: Mahmood Akhtar, Imtiyaz Mataq, and Nick Astley

Chief Inspector Martin Ashurst, said: “The description of the offenders for both crimes is very different, and the crimes have occurred months apart, with this in mind I am confident that they are not connected.

“I have set actions for the officers in charge of the investigations to provide urgent updates to the victims."