By Humphrey Carter
THE violent attack on a Palma taxi driver on Sunday appears to have sparked a fresh row between the capital's taxi drivers and the city council.
On Monday, taxi drivers portioned some of the blame for the attack on Palma council, accusing the local authority of ignoring its needs and cries for greater protection. Taxi association bosses also rounded on the city councillor for transport, Álvaro Gijón.
He is also the chairman of the EMT municipal transport company and has been accused of having a vested interested, paying more attention to the bus service than the needs of the taxi fleet. Álvaro Gijón said on Monday night that the accusations were “pretty strong,” but yesterday the city council shot back accusing taxi drivers of offering illegal tours of the old part of Palma. The introduction of the open-top tourist bus this summer angered the taxi associations, which in turn called for council permission to start operating special “tourist taxis” which will also offer guided excursions of the city. Taxi drivers are still waiting for Palma council to make a decision, but according to Álvaro Gijón, some have gone ahead and started organising them off their own backs and charging up to 200 euros for a three hour tour. The transport councillor claimed yesterday that the taxi drivers concerned were touting for business at the ferry terminal and the airport.
He added that while no official decision has been taken on the taxi associations' application to operate tourist taxis, he believes that taxis should “remain as they are. “A taxi licence permits a taxi driver to carry passengers to and from determined destinations, not to carry out any other activity,” he explained. “Excursions by taxi also infringe on the right of the city's official tour guides,” he added.

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