TAXI Driver Associations and unions agreed yesterday to ask the City Council for reduced working hours during the winter months to help survive the recession.

The drivers want to limit each car to 14 hours a day through a specific shift system and that free days and holidays be built into their schedule. Currently a working day stretches to 16 hours which the associations and unions say is excessive considering the recession. Last year, takings by taxi drivers plummeted by 50 percent.

Joaquin Rodriguez, head of the Transport department on the City Council who was at the meeting yesterday said he was going to conduct an inquiry into the working conditions of second shift drivers.

This drew immediate criticism from self-employed drivers and the small to medium-sized business association, Pimem. The largest groups also want the City Council to abolish the recently-built bicycle lanes in the Avenidas, and the ones in Avenida Picasso and Calle Balmes from the stretch between Calles Aragó and Jacint Verdaguer.

Depending on the results of the inquiry, they said, a protest demonstration may be launched which would include demands for the retraction of the bicycle lanes.


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