'No one deserves this': Uber driver reports being spat on by passengers in Romford

Newaj Ahmed, 37, recently started working as an Uber driver.

Newaj Ahmed, 37, recently started working as an Uber driver. - Credit: Newaj Ahmed

A Hornchurch Uber driver claims he was spat at after a dispute over passenger numbers in Romford. 

On Saturday evening, driver Newaj Ahmed, 37, says he was assaulted by two passengers after explaining he was unable to accept a booking from their group. 

Newaj said when he arrived at The Brewery shopping centre at around 8pm to collect the booking, five passengers – two men and two women, one carrying an infant – got into his car. 

The Brewery. Picture: Ken Mears

The Brewery. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

He claimed they were not wearing masks and said one got into the front passenger seat, which has been prohibited by Uber since May 2020. 

The company tells its drivers that if a rider does this, they should politely advise them to either re-book an Uber XL – the larger vehicles in the ride-sharing app’s fleet – or an additional vehicle for the extra passengers. 

Newaj said he did this and cancelled the booking on his phone, at which point one of the passengers poked him hard in the chest three times. 

As he went to call the police, he claims two of the passengers spat on him before fleeing in the direction of the Liberty shopping centre. 

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According to Newaj, the police arrived shortly after and a group was subsequently stopped but not arrested. 

The police did test swabs of him and the people they stopped, Newaj said, and he is waiting to hear back.

Newaj, of Hornchurch Road, has only been an Uber driver for a matter of days and said he was “really shocked” by the incident.

“No one should deserve anything like this,” he said.

He told the Recorder he was unable to sleep after the incident and said he was still worried he "might catch something”.

The Met Police confirmed they were called shortly after 8pm on Saturday, January 8, to a reported assault on a taxi driver on Brewery Walk. 

A spokesperson said: “Officers attended and spoke to the driver who said he had been spat at following an altercation over the number of passengers allowed in his vehicle."  

Enquiries are ongoing and no arrests have been made. 

An Uber spokesperson said the company was “shocked and saddened” by the incident and is in contact and assisting Newaj. 

“The safety of drivers is a top priority and there is absolutely no place for violence in our community,” they added.