Palma.—Majorca's Association of Self-Employed Taxi Drivers reported yesterday that business in January and February this year was between 30 and 40 percent worse than it had been during the same period in 2011, largely due to the slump in winter tourism.

Although Palma City Council had tried to ease the competition for declining trade for the drivers by setting a two-shift system for the city's 560 vehicles, Association President Mateo Bordoy yesterday described the situation for all his members in January and February this year as “particularly hard”.

Spring recovery
The month of March however, had seen a turning point in the fortunes of taxi drivers with some signs of stability in the tourist trade.
Bordoy said that there had been “more movement” in the port of Palma and at the airport. He seemed hopeful about April bringing cruise ships into Palma and more business for his drivers.

He was less clear, however, about taxi trade for the summer, saying it was too soon to make any predictions. Bordoy added that drivers were closely following tour operator activity, expressing some concern about the fact that cruise ship tourism is forecast to be down by around 20% this season.

Speaking of the rise in airport taxes planned under this year's national budget, Bordoy said that any such increase can only damage business for taxi drivers not just in Palma but elsewhere in the Balearics. “A rise in airport taxes will inevitably mean there will be less tourists,” he claimed, adding that the Balearic government should bear in mind how taxi businesses will be effected by such measures.

Bordoy pointed out that since the start of the economic crisis, unfair and illegal competition to authorised taxi drivers has been on the increase.

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