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Taxi Times International - October 2015 - English

  • Text
  • Drivers
  • Taxis
  • Uber
  • Athens
  • Mobility
  • European
  • Unions
  • Passenger
  • Urata
  • Faber

NUMBERS DEMONSTRATION

NUMBERS DEMONSTRATION GREEK STATISTICS 2 SCHICHT- BETRIEB Left: International taxi solidarity in the streets of Brussels. Middle: The main target of the demo. The major economic crisis in Greece also affected the taxi trade, particularly in Athens. DOUBLE OCCUPANCY 50% of the Athens taxis operate double shifts Talking tactics: the colleagues from Paris. Right: The EU Commission was the final stop of the taxi protest. SHORT TRIPS IN ATHENS Average value of a taxi trip in Athens: €5 Average daily revenue: €60–80 Decline in average earnings of taxi drivers from 2010 to 2015: 70% POVERTY LINE Annual income in euros that an individual living alone must earn in order to remain above the poverty line: €5,910 5.910 € TAXI UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN GREECE: 25,6% (as of March 2015) CONCENTRATION IN THE CAPITAL Number of taxi licences in Greece: 30.000 Number of taxi licences in the greater Athens area: 13.772 LONG WAITING TIMES Up to 5,000 taxis wait at night at the Athens airport to pick up a passenger for the city during the day (€38 fixed price). 60 50 37 10 1980 1990 2000 2015 600% LESS Average trips made by a taxi in Athens in 24 hours (t/24h) A STATE LIVING ON CREDIT National debt (estimated) in 2014: €317.3 billion STATE ON CREDIT PHOTO: Sven Hoppe / dpa PHOTO: Wim Faber TAXI SECTOR TAKES INTERNATIONAL PROTEST TO EU On Wednesday September 16 around 500 taxis from Brussels and other Belgian cities plus delegations from France, Spain, Portugal and even London demonstrated against Uber in the European capital. For several hours they blocked the Brussels inner ring and Schuman Square in front of the European Commission. Incidentally South Station and the road to the airport were blocked as well. Compared to the demonstration of European farmers, a few days earlier, the taxi trade demonstrated quite peacefully. The Sunday before Brussels taxis had offered their services for 50% of the metered fare – indicating that this 50% is the part of the fare Uber doesn’t pay in social premiums, insurance and tax. STRICTER CONTROLS Interestingly, following the demonstration and a meeting with the communal front of taxi associations and trade unions, Belgian minister Tommelein (Fraude) announced there would be stricter controls on the payment of social premiums and tax by Uber. A study which Tommelein commissioned has just proved that Uber-drivers are independent operators and not employees. The Belgian trade unions – following the latest California Uber judgement – see Uber-drivers as employees. Two days later Uber suddenly announced it would automatically check the VAT-numbers of its Belgian drivers and work with the tax office to counter tax fraud. Those not following the rules would be ‘deactivated’, according to the app. The ‘technology firm’ may be more interested in Driven all the way from London – a member of trade union Unite. working with the authorities because the Brussels Secretary for Mobility, Smet, is studying ways of legalising the Uber-services and the EU has just started a research project into platforms like Uber and AirBnB, which could lead to EU-wide regulation. Just before the demonstration Smet was seen having lunch with Uber top-brass Davif Plouffe. Reason why the demonstrators delivered fresh rolls to Smet’s office. For the Belgian taxi operators the outcome of the day was rather meagre. After over a year of governmental ‘non-action’, they would liked to have seen some more decisive action by the authorities – referring to measures banning UberPOP in Germany and The Netherlands. wf 24 TAXI OCTOBER / 2015 25

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