By Humphrey Carter PALMA

THE recession and rising fuel prices are taking their toll on Majorca's taxi drivers, the President of Majorca's Self-employed Taxi Drivers Association, Biel Moragues, said yesterday.

Moragues said that with fuel prices at 1 euro 30 cents a litre, the crisis facing the island's taxi drivers has spiraled out of control in some cases with some cabbies opting to leave their vehicles parked up for the winter or reducing their shifts.

Association chief claimed that, on average, taxi drivers have watched their takings fall by around 40 percent since November last year and, if the situation does not improve, Moragues warned that many cabbies will quit the business completely.

In March, 2010, taxi drivers were taking an average of 100 to 110 euros per day.
Today, that figure has fallen to between 60 and 70 euros “and it costs around 50 euros per day to run a taxi, so self-employed drivers are having to live off a daily profit of just ten to 20 euros,” he added. “We work more than ten hours per day and our licenses cost around 2'400 euros while the cost of a taxi is betwen 20'000 and 25'000 euros, how are we supposed to live under these current economic conditions?” Moragues said. “We are facing a serious crisis thanks to rising fuel prices. Many of my members have spent all their summer savings and we're all desperate for the Easter and Summer seasons to get under way so we can start recuperating our winter losses,” he said.

But, Moragues admitted that the cabbies are worried about the negative impact the airports strikes will have on their business this summer if the industrial action goes ahead. “The threat of strike action has made an already complicated situation even worse and if we don't have good Easter and Summer seasons, taxi drivers are going to suffer just like the rest of the tourist industry. “This is no time to start going on strike, we're on the road to recovery and the airport protests could ruin all that and cause serious financial damage,” he said.