ALICANTE taxi drivers brought traffic chaos to the city when they joined a nationwide protest against the so-called ‘VTC,’ the controversial licensed ‘car with driver’ service.
The licensed taxi industry across Spain sees the new ‘chauffeur’ driven cars as a threat and unfair competition.
And taxi drivers argue the licences granted in Alicante Province have exceeded the legal limit, one VTC for every 30 cabs.
The action caused traffic jams in the centre of the city and along the Gran Via as taxis from across the province joined Alicante drivers in staging the two-hour strike; some 120 cabs arriving in convoy from Torrevieja and Elche.
Organisers claimed support was solid amongst Alicante drivers, supported by 80 per cent of colleagues across the province. Cab drivers across Spain staged similar demonstrations in provincial capitals.
Outside government buildings, some 250 drivers gathered to protest against Minister of Public Works Inigo de la Serna, demanding he “stop looking away and enforce the VTC ratio.”
Angry cabbies sounded their horns and threw fireworks to demand attention to their plight; saying there were 200 VTC licences granted in Alicante, far above the legal limit. It is thought there are 5,600 in Spain when, according the government ratio, there should be no more than 2,000.
A union spokesman explained the problem affected the entire sector because Madrid was not “complying with transport laws.”
The protest started at 11am and promptly at 1pm, engines were started, the vehicles moved away, and normality returned to the city’s roads.