STAFF REPORTER
TAXI drivers in Palma reported yesterday that instead of the month of August being a time when they could expect to earn extra money from visiting tourists, their income has in fact fallen by between 10 and 40 percent in comparison with last year.

Mateo Bordoy, the President of the Self-Employed Taxi Drivers section of Majorca's small to medium-sized business association Pimem, said that this year has been “the worst” that the taxi drivers have had in recent memory.

Less pessimistic yesterday however, was Biel Moragues, the President of the independent Majorcan Taxi Drivers' Association who said that income for drivers has dipped this holiday season by between 10 and 15 percent in comparison with the same period in 2009. He added though that takings were already well down last year in what he described as a “very bad” season.

Moragues pointed out that the number of fares had been very low this year up until the middle of July. “In fact at that point,” he explained, “income was about 30 percent lower than the same month last year.” But apparently from the middle of July onwards, business began to pick up thanks to the arrival of tourists on cruise ships. “We consider these people to be the saviours of the season,” claimed Moragues.

He qualified his statement by saying that his members recognised that although other visitors were still coming to Palma, their spending power has been much lower than in previous years and that a taxi is seen as a luxury item cutting into the holiday budget.

Bordoy said that his members were expressing concern about what business is going to be like next year. He said that measures may need to be taken to make it worthwhile “going to work.” There was a possibility he said of limiting the number of cabs on city roads at any one time, as had been done during the winter months when demand is traditionally lower.

Moragues agreed in principle with Bordoy's remarks but added that to ensure profitability, it will also be necessary for the drivers who do go out to work longer hours.

But Moragues said that there could be a price to pay for “less cars and longer hours” in terms of quality of service.
There are currently 1'246 licensed cabs in Palma. They are allowed to work 4 consecutive days but have to rest on the fifth, so that every day 250 taxis are idle.

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