Jews can afford taxis

February 12, 2012 by Henry Benjamin
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A night at a Leonard Cohen concert resulted in a  CityRail Tribunal after a Bondi couple was confronted by a rail official who repeatedly remarked that “they’re all Jews living in the Eastern Suburbs. They can afford to get a taxi.”

Cheryl and Dr Jeffrey Bogan

Bondi-based 65-yr-old Dr Jeffrey Bogan and his wife Cheryl, 61, had taken the train from Central to attend the Cohen concert. At 12:30am they returned by rail to Sydney’s Central Station. As they made there way off platform 17, they asked two State Rail employees if the Eastern Suburbs line was still operating. One of the two told them politely that the trains had stopped running and directed them to a taxi rank. At this point the other attendant  said “They’re all Jews living in the Eastern Suburbs. They’re all wealthy – they can afford to get a taxi”

Roman Arnusch Photo courtesy Sun-Herald/Janie Barrett

In a statement to CityRail, the Bogans wrote: “The attendant proceeded to repeat these same comments to various groups of passengers. On each repetition he appeared to get louder with increasing derision, sometimes laughing. We heard him make these comments at least four of five times.”

Dr Bogan, a neuropsychologist who specialises in children brain-damaged as a result of accidents, and his wife decided to confront the offending rail employee but he had “disappeared”.

The following day, Dr Bogan and his wife, who formerly worked in the special education field, lodged a complaint with CityRail.

Nine months later, Roman Arnusch, the CityRail service manager who had worked for the authority for 29 years, was sacked.

But last week the Transport Appeals Board overturned the decision and Arnusch will return to work on March 28.

Dr Bogan told J-Wire: “We saw the CCTV footage which clearly shows him laughing as we had the conversation with his colleague. He was within arm’s length. But as we walked towards Eddy Ave to find a cab, we could still hear him.”

Cheryl Bogan added: “The other polite attendant was embarrassed and he called for him when we wanted to address the issue…but he had disappeared.”

The Bogans told J-Wire they were not shaken by the incident but “outraged”.

They said that the first they knew about the successful appeal was when they were approached by the “Sun-Herald”.

Dr Bogan said: “We are still to hear from CityRail. I have no problem with him getting his job back…a man’s got to make a living. But we have just learned that his work is in the area of customer service and he should not be allowed to be in contact with the general public. At the tribunal, he showed no remorse.”

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive officer Vic Alhadeff commented: “The comments by the CityRail official were offensive, hurtful and inappropriate, particularly in light of the fact that his area of responsibility is customer relations. Hopefully he has learned from this unfortunate episode.”