Magaluf bar owner, and former taxi driver Michael Oakden, said yesterday that Calvia cabbies are going about their protest the wrong way and in the end will do themselves more harm than good. There are two main topics of conversation in the tourist resort, with holidaymakers either talking about the World Cup or the taxi strike. Very few know what it's about, neither do they care, what they're worried about is getting to the airport and a lot of money is changing hands with tourists offering people £30 to take them to the airport, Oakden said yesterday. He added that the strike has done nothing to lift tourists' spirits in the resort. Oakden explained that in Newcastle, taxi drivers and the council also clashed over licences and more vehicles being allowed on the roads. The council announced that it would issue more licences if there was a demand, but he explained that as far as the council was concerned, anyone turning up with a new taxi requiring a licence, was sufficient demand. Newcastle taxi drivers mounted flash protests, but only for an hour or so at a time we could not afford to not be working and the Calvia cabbies have lost a fortune over the past week and they'll never make that money back. The council does not care, they're all getting paid whatever happens. The idea should be to cause disruption but still make money, he said. In Newcastle, the cabbies managed to persuade the council to carry out a survey and investigate demand at the taxi ranks and eventually agreed to put a freeze on licences. We were all rushed off our feet on a Friday night at closing time, but that was just for half an hour, it was the rest of the week the council had to look at.
But Oakden says that Calvia taxi services need to be properly promoted and more use of radio taxies made. Many residents say it is hard enough to flag a cab down in Calvia as it is, but Oakden said that for anyone who does not speak Spanish, trying to book a taxi is virtually impossible. They should have an English speaker in the office and the phone numbers plastered all over the bars, hotels and restaurants, he said. Far more people would use taxis if it was not such a nightmare for the thousands of holidaymakers to book one and it would mean much more business for the drivers. With this protest, we're all suffering, including the cabbies and it's causing even more bad feeling amongst tourists. Businesses are also suffering, especially restaurants and clubs as people can not get about the area, unless they're using illegal taxis, he said.