ACTION PLAN AGAINST 'PIRATE TAXIS'
Kevin Reardon / 2012-05-20 14:46:10
The Ombudsman of Andalusia has urged the Ministry of Public Works and Housing of the Junta de Andalucía in Adra, Dalias, El Ejido, La Mojonera, Roquetas de Mar and Vicar, as well as those of Níjar and the capital, to develop an action plan with which they should eradicate the proliferation of 'pirate taxis' in the region.
The industry says that the local police should also take action in local bus stations and at the airport where unlicensed and therefore uninsured drivers are regularly found dropping off and waiting for passengers to provide their services.
This has caused “serious harm" to the many professional and licensed taxi operators who are being deprived of potential customers.
According to the Spanish press, the institution led by José Chamizo, officially registered their complaint after learning of the situation in El Ejido through the media, where private cars are providing both a local taxi service and some daily excursions, a situation that has now been formally denounced by the Association of Taxi Drivers in the town.
According to the Ombudsman, the situation is even worse in the west of the province near Nijar and Almeria, where unlicensed operators repeatedly pick up and drop of fares in public passenger transport vehicles. A spokesman said that they are now even moving into the tourist industry and chartering their unlicensed vehicles to some company’s offering excursions and trips.
The Ombudsman's office said that the authorities have been dealing with this situation for over 15 years without any satisfactory conclusion. The President of the Federation of Taxi Operators has repeatedly spoken to municipalities, local police, a delegation of the Transportation Board in Andalusia and central government representatives, as well as having untold meetings to try to establish an agreed plan of action.
Taxi drivers themselves have been told that they must also get involved and report cases of 'pirate taxis’ to the local police.
However one taxi driver told the Leader that when you call the local police, because it is a relatively common practice and the police are short of officers, they can take an absolute age arriving at the scene, by which time there has inevitably been a confrontation between the taxi driver and the pirate, nearly always ending in unpleasant circumstances, and the pirate operator has dropped off or picked up his fare and moved on.