THERE is a division of opinion between cabbies in Palma and those of other municipalities bordering the bay, over the possibility of creating a metropolitan area for the taxi service. At present, cabbies can only pick up fares in their own municipality, which means that if a Calvia driver takes a passenger to Palma, he has to drive back empty, as he cannot pick up fares in the city. The taxi drivers association which belongs to Pimem (small and medium sized businesses), which is 70 per cent of the 1'238 cabbies in Palma, has always been in favour of setting up a metropolitan area taking in surrounding municipalities, as it feels this will benefit both cabbies and passengers. Their leader, Gabriel Moragues, has proposed that all drivers should be able to pick up fares in the municipalities which join the scheme, but they will not be able to set up taxi ranks outside their own territory. Cabbies will benefit because they can pick up fares, and users will have greater choice and will also benefit as fares will be brought into line.
But Julio Nieto, head of the cabbies who belong to Caeb (the business federation) is opposed to the scheme, because of the seasonal nature of tourism in the island. He claims that setting up a metropolitan area or similar will mean that all the taxis will want to centre their activity in the areas where there are most tourists -- the airport, Paseo Maritimo in Palma and the chief resorts -- while the more outlying areas of the towns will suffer from a shortage of cabs. The situation would be aggravated in winter, when cabbies will descend on the centre of Palma, where there will be an increase in competition.
He added that the model of service used in Madrid or Barcelona cannot be applied in Palma, because they have a stable population all year round and Majorca doesn't. Eduardo Vilchez, head of the 214 cabbies in Calvia, is also opposed to the scheme. “We don't want it because there is more work here in summer, and cabbies from Palma would come here,” he said. He agreed with Nieto in that the scheme would leave outlying districts in the cold.
Francisco Cordoba, head of the Llucmajor cabbies, was in favour of the scheme, providiing a way was found to prevent outlying areas being left short of taxis.


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