Taxi drivers bring Palma to standstill

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TAXI DRIVERS: Took to the streets of Palma.

UP to 1,000 taxi drivers brought the centre of Palma to a standstill for five hours in protest at government plans to bring in more competition.

With some 400 in their vehicles and the rest on foot, the drivers loudly took to the streets on Wednesday blowing whistles and letting off firecrackers.

The target of their anger is government minister Marc Pons.

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He is behind plans to establish regular bus links between the island’s airport and several of the busiest tourist areas in Mallorca.

The routes have traditionally been the preserve of the taxi drivers who ferry the thousands of holidaymakers and visitors to the island from the airport.

Mr Pons wants to bring in more competition and introduce a reliable bus service with the help of several transport companies on the island.

But taxi drivers remain resolutely opposed, saying the plan threatens to damage their livelihoods particularly during the busiest periods of the year.

For the drivers, the president of their association, Antonio Cervilla, said: “This is an important battle, but it is only the beginning of a long war.”

They claim the island’s main transport hub is in Palma and that taking passengers and holidaymakers direct to their accommodation would mean drivers missing out on the chance to make a living from seasonal traffic on these routes.

Cervilla said they were fighting for what they considered was fair and said the government’s “lack of willingness to negotiate” meant the action would inevitably be escaled.

But the government continues to maintain its measures are not intended to harm the island’s taxi workers.

Spokesman Jaume Mateu said the aim was to improve public transport by bringing in a system that already exists in other tourist destinations similar to Mallorca.

The drivers plan to strike during Holy Week unless their demands are met.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. A great common sense idea, I can’t understand why there isn’t already a bus services to and from the airport! As is the Spanish mentality, Taxi drivers hate competition rather than looking at it as a way of using it, to provide a better service to try and entice customers! Spain is way behind on the competition front because their culture ‘political and otherwise’ prefers monopoly, they don’t like giving… but they love taking!

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