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Proposed taxi strike is called off as taxi drivers’ representatives reach agreement with the Minister of Transport for Ibiza, Pepa Mari.  

The Minister of Transportation of the Island Council of Ibiza, Pepa Marí, the representatives of the organisation Elite Taxis (in effect the Taxi Drivers’ union) and councillors of municipalities of Ibiza, San Jose and Santa Eulalia have held a meeting this morning at Marine centre in Ibiza Town.

Ibiza Taxis Agreement with Consell

Use technology to help catch pirates.

To work with other public authorities to promote a joint website to monitor activities of VTC (vehicles with driver) outside its scope. Elite Taxis are working on the initiative with the regional governments of Catalonia and Andalusia. The aim is to create a common tool that can be extended to the whole country.

New 3 digit hotline.

A government authorised/controlled/operated (difficult from translation) 3 digit hotline to order taxis.

Police training.

Special training would be arranged for local police so that officers were proficient in transport matters.

GPS Development.

Develop the rules of application of the proposed GPS system, including disciplinary regulations. The GPS system would use the technology to allocate drivers and provide exact address information. It has been long resisted by the Taxi drivers.

More Police.

Increased police presence at critical points where an increased presence pirate-taxis is detected.

Plan of Action

The Council has agreed to undertake these activities during the winter of 2017/2018. This agreement will be extended to other municipalities of the island so that they can join.

Because of these commitments, Elite Taxis decided to call off the protest planned in Ibiza for August 28.

Opening the meeting, Councillor Pepa Marí said, “It is imperative that all governments and all sectors are working together” insisting on a need for “the central government to send more agents and more resources to Ibiza to fight against intrusion in the taxi industry. We need the state involved and to cover the vacancies in both National Police and Civil Guard, and that these provisions are given greater priority for the protection of the population of Ibiza”

»» Comment

Nick Gibbs, editor.

Today is the 17th of August. There are two weeks until we get through the month with the reputation for making us all a little tetchy. Last week I promised myself to try and get through the rest without getting hotter under the collar than was unavoidable from the heat. But it is so difficult when such a succession of news that generate the ‘seriously?’ response come across your desk. I wonder if it is intentional on the part of Ibiza’s politicians? It has long been accepted in national politics that the day after some very bad or even good news the Government will slip through some piece of unpopular legislation on the grounds no one is paying attention. Perhaps Ibiza’s equivalent is to get it all done in august. Half the population is too busy to notice, and the rest are already tetchy from the heat, so just get all the controversial stuff through then when the public are fed up anyway.

Though that may be a general rule it will not have applied here. The meeting was in anticipation of the drivers’ ‘protest’ (strike) planned for August 28th.

Mindset

To understand the decisions perhaps it is important to understand the mindset of the politicians taking part. They will have been keen to avoid the strike if at all possible. It would have added another problem in an already trouble filled season.

But is that the right way to approach it? The government’s record with the taxi drivers is one of perpetual appeasement. It seems that in the face of complete intransigence to any changes that are desperately needed to cope with the increased number of people wanting taxis, the island’s tourist numbers have doubled in a decade, Ibiza’s taxi licence owners still demand their complete attention. The government does not seem to want confrontation with them at any cost. Well that is my opinion anyway. I will relate it to the meeting’s decisions.
These all relate either side of the issue. The Taxi drivers’ wanting to stop pirates, the government wanting new working practices (and also to stop pirates)

Taxi Driver Achievements

The Taxi drivers had agreements on 3 topics for pirate taxis. 1. Use technology to help catch pirates. 2. More Police training. 3. More Police to catch pirates.

Interesting side note that they are so keen to adopt technology to catch pirate taxis, but have given a complete refusal to see the advantages of GPS technology in assisting theirs.

So from their side they have a government commitment to participate in the catch-a-pirate technology. They have gained a commitment to train police to catch pirates, and they have gained a commitment for more police on the beat to catch pirates.

What Police?

But from where? They know that there are no police. They know the island cannot fill its vacant police posts. They know that the island has many problems needing the police time.

But where is their priority? Entirely themselves. And this despite the fact, I would argue, they are the cause of the problem and reason so many pirates exist. They absolutely refuse to allow more licences, that creates the demand, and as with many things the criminals will move in to fill it.

Would this man be talking to this pirate taxi if there was a legal taxi available?

pirate-taxi-see-ibiza
pirate taxi, credit see ibiza.

It is akin to a person refusing to put locks on their doors or close their windows, and then demand extra police to stop them being burgled.

But not only won’t they see that their intransigence to even discuss ways to resolve the situation of insufficient taxi numbers, is a huge cause of the pirate taxi problem, they then demand we devote a disproportionate amount of our scarce police resource to help protect their wages.

They refuse to participate in finding a solution, but want our police to help protect their wages in a way that no other group in our society enjoys, and only the clubs would have the cheek to request.

Whatever additional police are given to the taxi driver’s cause will come off something else. Most likely traffic. It is a shame there were not a few corpses in the meeting today as they could have argued the case for a reduction in fatal road traffic accidents as being of rather more importance.

I don’t know where the taxis think they get this privileged position of entitlement from, but I certainly do not think they carry the support of the public in so far as the ‘ranking’ they give the issue of pirate taxis.

Simple question: you have 2 police officers free today to work in traffic. Would you prefer their time was spent catching overtaking nutters with the potential for murder every mile they drive, or allocate them to ensure no taxis were losing fares to pirates?

Or how about devote those 2 policemen to catching street thieves vs pirate taxis?

I’ll guess very few people will answer that in the same way the taxi drivers do. So the Taxi drivers came out of the meeting very well, 3 commitments addressing their prime concern.

Government Progress?

At first glance you could say the government had made some progress too. Implementation of a GPS system is something long resisted by the drivers and today’s meeting confirms that there is agreement to “Develop the rules of application of the proposed GPS system”. But the key word is ‘proposed’.

The taxi drivers haven’t agreed to it at all. This has all the hallmarks of a pre press conference face saver. Something like, “We have just conceded all that to you, we need something in return, how about the GPS”. Taxi:“no, we will not agree to the GPS”. “could you agree to saying that we will commence plans for the GPS.” taxi“no we will not agree to the GPS”, “How about we say develop the rules of the GPS if it should ever be implemented which we are in no way saying it will be?” taxi“what is the point in saying that?” “er, stop people laughing at us”.

It means nothing.

Hotline

However there is the new 3 digit hotline agreed. Now I have to admit that I am surprised the Taxi drivers have agreed to it, just because it is change and they normally dismiss anything that is change – but exactly how the funk does a 3 digit hotline help us?

Will the people in the photo be pleased that we have a new 3 digit taxi hotline?

taxi-queue-ibizatoday
taxi queue at Ibiza airport. credit Ibiza today.

I have heard hundreds of taxi complaints over the years, but ‘an unreasonable amount of digits in the telephone number’ has never been one of them. ‘Mate, I’ve just called one of your taxis and me finger’s proper done in it is’, I mean what the bloomin’ ada is that about?

Missing words

I said ‘at first glance’ the government may look to have made some advantage. But you would have to stare long and hard to read where they really haven’t. Because it doesn’t exist.

The outcome of today’s meeting was not remarkable by what it included, but by what it didn’t. Where is the single most important subject of ‘more taxis’?

The fact that the matter is not even on the agenda shows the taxi drivers for what they are, and shows the government’s position for what it is. Weak.

They make commitments to the taxi drivers. To prioritise their wages over the lives of the rest of us on Ibiza’s roads. To participate and support a pirate taxi catching website, despite the taxis refusing to look at technology for years in their own job. But nothing in return.

If these concessions and commitments had been made in exchange for progress on the issue of more taxis there may be praise due for politics serving their purpose. But we don’t have that. We have a situation where the most important issue is not close to resolution, it is not even on the agenda. Very weak.

It does all come down to one thing. The taxi drivers are bullies. The only way to deal with them is to stand up to them, and the government seems unable or unwilling to do so.

Not all just about moaning though, I did write a piece on pirates and potential solutions etc in this article who are the pirates

You might also be interested in this report on steps being made to address the growth of illegal vip transport services.

 

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