A hot-line will be established so that the public can complain.

The city council announced plans yesterday to tackle head-on the problems of the shortage of taxis in the city centre. Following a meeting with representatives of the various cabbie associations the council announced that the number of taxis allowed to wait at the airport would be limited to 100 during the low season. Also, various information panels will be set-up to inform would-be passengers of the cost of each route. Taxi drivers will also be forced to accept the first passengers that come along and will no longer be able “to choose their passengers” in the hope of a more lucrative fare. A hot-line will be set-up so that the public can complain if they feel that they have not received a proper service. The cabbies also agreed yesterday to accept the new citizen's card (a form of city council credit card for public transport) as a form of payment. Another variant of this card for tourists can also be used to pay for both cab and bus fares. A number of taxis will be dedicated exclusively for the disabled and drivers will receive additional funding from the social services. The council also announced yesterday that the police would control taxi ranks so that they are properly manned. “Our meeting yesterday proved successful. We feel that we have overcome various problems which should improve the service offered by cabbies in Palma at the moment,” said a council spokesperson. Over recent months the council has received hundreds of complaints about taxi drivers, their attitude and also their working practices. During the summer months the majority of cabbies base themselves at the airport leaving the city centre without the necessary taxis to cover demand. Presently there are 1'300 taxis in Palma compared to the just 100 in Calvia. Many drivers openly say that there are too many taxis in Palma and the council should remove some licences. This problem has been further underlined by a new government ruling which allows cabbies from outside the municipality of Palma to collect passengers at Palma airport. Until recently this was a monopoly only open to Palma drivers. There was talk of industrial action amongst city drivers. Much of the income of many drivers comes from lucrative airport fares. Some drivers say that they can earn more in a morning at the airport than they can all day in Palma.