The coronavirus crisis has slowed down the turnover of a sector that has been forced to “self-regulate” due to the lack of clients.
Drivers in Benidorm and Torrevieja work at 30%, while in Alicante and Elche they now earn 50% less than a year ago.
Taxi drivers in the province of Alicante say that they are scared of what the future might hold. The atypical summer left in local towns and cities by the coronavirus pandemic is taking a real drain on their income.
The situation is not at all hopeful for workers in the sector, who depending on the locality in which they work, are earning between 50% and 70% less than last summer.
They say that the effects of covid-19 are even more noticeable in tourist destinations such as Alicante, Benidorm and Torrevieja, where they are also billing much lower figures than they were accustomed to in previous years
This situation, if it continues for very much longer, will undoubtedly pose a serious problem for taxi drivers, with “things are getting worse” due to the uncertainty during month of September. As a result, the vast majority of drivers have been forced to ‘self-regulate’.
Services at taxi ranks have fallen by 90% in some cases, as shifts are reduced and working hours are shortened: an explosive cocktail for a group that says it will not be able to face another summer in similar circumstances.
Drivers who work in coastal locations such as Alicante, Dénia, Torrevieja or Benidorm say that during the summer months they would usually expect to earn enough to see them through the winter. “But now the high season is like a winter in itself, so the future is very uncertain”, according to Fernando del Molino, the President of the Confederation of Autonomous Taxi Drivers of the Valencian Community.
In Alicante, taxi ranks are being left empty when it is normal to find a steady stream of vehicles between July and August. Busy locations in the city have become places where the wait can be for ever, as in the case of Plaza del Mar, Plaza de España or the Renfe train station.
“Services have fallen by over 50% compared to a usual summer,” explains Francisco Sánchez, president of Radio Teletaxi Alicante.
He blames the losses on the absence of foreign tourists which the city usually welcomes during the summer months and says that the situation is “very worrying.” “It seems that there is still something of a night service which is used by young people, but we face very hard times because there are many of my colleagues who are hardly working at all,” explains Sánchez.
Fall of flights in El Altet
In Elche, the picture is very similar. They also speak of a reduction of more than half their income, to which are added losses due to the reduction in flights. “We are doing between 3 and 4 services a day to the airport when the normal would be triple that number. We have to be responsible but not fall into alarmism, “explains Vicente Murcia, a taxi driver in the municipality of Elche. He says that the city is working at something above 30% , taking into account the situation that the airport is experiencing due to the cancellations of arrivals.
Benidorm and Torrevieja share experiences: the absence of foreign tourists is making their existence difficult.
Taxi drivers in the capital of the Costa Blanca are billing below 70%, which has forced the sector to reduce shifts and put fewer cars on the street. The same happens in Torrevieja. “From 40 trips in a shift we have gone to 10 or 12, it is outrageous,” says José Antonio Gómez, from Benidorm.
Likewise, the scenario in Torrevieja has already forced them to self-regulate. “With 60% less income, we cannot continue with the same number of cars, and we expect there to be an even greater slump when the few tourists leave on August 20,” says Pablo Zapata.