This week we have seen a barrage of criticism once again aimed at our local (airport) taxi drivers so starts Jason Moore's Viewpoint column Saturday.
It continues Tourists being overcharged and exploited, Blame the city council, Not taking tougher stance, Most tourists have no idea of the cost, Because of limited Spanish they have no way of fighting their corner. So far Jason and I are in full agreement over the problem. We part company over the solution.
Relying on Taxi Tariffs displayed at the Airport still leaves the onus on the Tourist. Add on the surcharge complications and the taxi driver has all he needs to confuse the passenger and again carry out his multiple fraud on the visitor, the taxi owner and the tax man. It is the responsibility of the Town Hall to activate the control not the two week holidaymaker. By the way this has been tried before but the notice board was regularly defaced presumably by malcontent taxi drivers.
Let me put forward two drastic options.
Taxi fares being paid at a dedicated office at the airport which issues a chit to be given as complete payment to the cab driver. Alternatively the Town Hall sets up a sting operation which tests the honesty of the drivers by entrapment.
Any violators to suffer a 3 strikes and you're out punishment for the driver and the taxi owner.
Both of these solutions have been needed and succeeded at other capital airports the first method in Argentina the second in Mexico.
The belief that taxi drivers are having trouble making a living does not entitle them to overcharge that only leads to fewer tourists in the future and even less income. If the city council is trying to limit the number of taxis parked at the airport because there is a real shortage it shows the lack of practical business nous. Presumably the drivers prefer the airport because they earn more there.
If there is a shortage of taxis in town then give out more licences don't apply restrictions.
There is a common thread in all the turmoil over airport taxis, airport buses, bus routes, taxi fares, number of licences, allowable driving hours etc.
Our local politicians are regularly and successfully intimidated by the taxi drivers. They continually react by trying to drive business their way with little regard for the customer.
In Ray Fleming and Jason Moore Viewpoint readers are well served. From one a Macro view of World problems and from the other a practical Micro view on the local scene.
The Daily B can't influence George Bush or Kofi Annan but perhaps a more crusading approach may move city hall occasionally.
Can I suggest that the appropriate government head be formally asked to reply to Letters to the Editor and named and shamed if they fail to do so?