News desk
BALEARIC cabbies are planning to put up their fares by at least five percent from the beginning of next year, because of the effects of the rising cost of oil over recent months.

This was announced yesterday by Gabriel Moragues, who heads the association of self-employed taxi drivers in Majorca.
Moragues said that cabbies were facing “a very serious problem” because of the increase in the cost of diesel, which has gone up by eight percent since the start of the year.

This, he went on, will force them to put up fares.
He said “It's obvious we will have to put up fares, which we don't like to do and our customers won't like it either.” He said that the increase would be decided at the end of the year and would come into effect early in 2005.
Moragues said it was “impossible” for the increase in diesel not to have an effect on fares. He called on the authorities to provide a special price for diesel for the transport sector, similar to that enjoyed by the fishing fleets.

The taxi sector is already split by internal divisions. In Palma, there are too many licences, they maintain, and cabbies are forced to take one day a week off. And cabbies from outlying towns and villages complain because they cannot pick up fares outside their own municipality.

Jesús Sala, chairman of the fuel distributers section of the business organisation CAEB, said he did not predict a drop in petrol prices over the next few months because of the uncertain situation in Iraq. Doubts over the transfer of power which is due to take place at the end of June are keeping the price of crude oil high, he said yesterday.

He predicted that instability in the area would continue in the short term, and hinted that a litre of 98 octane petrol would soon top the euro mark, although he pointed out that petrol in the Balearics is by no means the highest in Spain.

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