Taxi motorists’ unions have actually very opposed any kind of relocate to enhance the variety of permits required to exercise the career.
If you’ve ever before attempted capturing a taxi in Italy, it’s most likely you’ll hesitate prior to trying to duplicate the experience. In spite of the heatwave that is presently grasping the nation, lengthy lines of individuals can be seen each day outside train terminals or at the major clubs in the evening, waiting fruitless for a white automobile to take them about. Phone phones call to drivers commonly continue to be unanswered, as well as prices can be remarkably high.
As cab driver maintain opposing any kind of effort to reform, the solution stays controlled by out-of-date standards as well as is unable to fulfill an expanding need originating from both citizens as well as visitors.
Part of the trouble exists with the taxi permit system.
Italian taxis are legitimately thought about a method of public transportation: they’re controlled by a regulation initially authorized in 1992 which, to name a few points, supplies that just qualified specialists can function as cab driver. Licences ought to be given by neighborhood authorities via reoccuring public require quotes. However, these applications are very unusual as well as normally use a restricted quantity of brand-new approvals.
Nowadays, the most convenient method to get a permit is to purchase one from a previous cab driver that does not require it any longer: throughout the years, this system has actually promoted an identical market with extremely filled with air rates, where the expense of a solitary permit can get to thousands of countless euros, according to numerous investigatory records.
Traditionally, cab driver’ unions oppose the sale of brand-new permits, being afraid that the records they invested a lot cash on might decline: as in standard financial concepts, the scarcer an asset is, the better it comes to be.
Furthermore, according to trade unions, the intro of brand-new permits would not address the larger problem of flexibility as well as public transport in the nation: “The nationwide federal government as well as neighborhood managers are making use of cab driver as scapegoats for the ineffectiveness of various other solutions,” Nicola Di Giacobbe, national secretary for the trade union Unica Cgil, told Euronews.
Several governments over the past decades have tried reforming the sector, but the firm opposition of the taxi drivers’ lobby – considered one of the most powerful and problematic in Italy, along with beach resorts’ owners – succeeded in blocking every possible change.
A widespread problem
Currently, only 4,853 taxi licences are available in Milan — the second most populous city in the country. That’s the same amount as in 2003 when the last call for bids granted about 300 new permissions.
Yet since then the city’s population has swelled by about 100,000 to reach over 1.3 million and the tourism flows have also increased substantially.
“The fact that we need more taxis is crystal clear. During the busiest hours, like nights or weekends, calling a taxi can take 15 to 20 minutes, and that’s unacceptable,” Arianna Censi, Milan mobility and transports councilor, told Euronews.
This month, the city’s authorities asked the Lombardy Region to grant 1,000 new licences.
A report conducted by the municipality in 2019 – which remains the most updated one – showed that almost 30% of requests for a taxi made between 7pm and 9pm remained unanswered, while at night the amount went up to 42%.
“If you have to call a taxi several times, and wait hours for it, you’ll stop using the service,” Censi said. However, trade unions criticized the report, stating that it’s based on incomplete data and that it doesn’t take into account rides made without a call, when passengers get on board from the street or from designated parking areas. Censi agrees that the study is incomplete, but claims that many taxi associations didn’t provide the requested data.
The situation is not much different in Rome. The capital counts about 7,800 licences for nearly 2.9 million inhabitants and about 10 million foreign and domestic tourists per year. The last call for bids was in 2006.
While the amount is already insufficient, in all likelihood it won’t be able to meet the increased demand expected for the next Catholic Church Jubilee held in 2025. As such, the city is looking for ways to increase licences, but local authorities are struggling to strike a deal with trade unions.
Compared to the population, Rome has about 270 taxi licenses for 100,000 people, an amount much lower than in other European capitals: Paris, for instance, counts more than 800 licenses for 100,000 people, and Madrid about 470. Furthermore, users in many major European cities can also count on private, digital platforms like Uber or Lyft, which offer a very limited service in Italy and over the years have been targeted by several legal actions and protests.
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