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Protest by Malaga Taxi drivers

Malaga airport taxi drivers quit providing their services for an hour recently. This protest against Junta de Andalucía turned into an ugly argument between taxi drivers and their representatives. In fact, Jose Antonio Mate, president of the Malaga Unified Society of Independent Taxi Drivers got a scolding from their colleagues.

For many years, taxi drivers have been demanding that the Junta de Andalucía repeal a decree from 1985 that allows taxi drivers from other towns to pick up passengers. This situation appears to be unfair to Malaga airport taxi drivers since they are not allowed to go to other towns to pick the passengers up. As an example, a taxi driver from Marbella can go to Malaga airport to pick up a customer and drive them to their hotel in Marbella, but a Malaga city taxi driver can't go to Marbella to pick up that same customer and take them back to the airport.

The situation flared up last March and taxi drivers from the city threatened to start a strike during the Easter festivities. The situation was diffused when the Junta de Andalucía promised to study the situation. Weeks later, the Andalusian government proposed that taxi services could be reciprocal, that is, that taxi drivers from other towns would be allowed to pick up customers at the airport and vice-versa. Malaga taxi drivers agreed, but the decree has not been approved and it has not been carried out. This situation has been causing despair to the taxi drivers. Francisco Soria said yesterday that the Junta de Andalucía has been working on a new study and that they will meet next March to find a solution. A whole year has passed and a solution has not been found yet. Taxi drivers are tired of waiting, since they were told at first that the situation would be solved by December and, since there is no solution in view until March, they are blaming their representatives of not doing all that is needed to find a solution.

Taxi drivers also complain about the amount of non-authorised drivers that work at the airport. It is not just drivers from other towns, but also drivers without any transport permit, cars from hotels that have no permission and private citizens that claim they come to pick up a friend seven times a day, said Soria. He also emphasised that “the situation is pure chaos and the Junta has to find a solution”. They ask for better control from the government and Malaga's town council. The president of Taxi Union pointed out that a taxi driver can earn 60 to 70 euros a day, but they have to spend about 50, so there is little money to be made.

For now, taxi drivers representatives will wait till March, and if there is no solution by then, they will protest again. Tension is growing and if this problem can't be solved, there might actually be a strike during Easter this year. Meanwhile, yesterday, not knowing anything about this situation, customers had to wait over an hour to catch a taxi.

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