Palma taxis: earnings can rise thanks to cruise ships. | Pere Bota

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Against the backdrop of apparent shortages of taxis in Palma and suggestions as to longer working hours, Majorca's association of self-employed taxi-drivers has given some information regarding hours and revenue. Its spokesperson, Juan Pablo Arias, says that a Palma driver can typically take home in a month in summer between 5,000 and 6,000 euros before tax. This would require working twelve hours a day and a monthly spend of some 1,000 euros on fuel.

There can be days when income will be higher (and so produce higher monthly returns), such as when there are several cruise ships in port, but these are exceptions, says Arias, whose association represents a majority of drivers. He accepts that there may be a feeling that there is a lack of taxis when peaks in demand occur because of cruise ships, but this is because the public is used to there being plenty of supply when there aren't such peaks.

Arias attacks the notion that there might be 24-hour licences as these wouldn't mean any more taxis being available, while they might produce situations of labour exploitation. He points out that daily takings in winter are much lower - on average 30 to 40 euros.

Drivers, and this applies to cars with two drivers, can choose in summer to work shifts of sixteen or nineteen hours with fewer or more days off respectively. In winter the shifts are divided into twelve hours. Cars with two drivers can operate for sixteen hours but with a month off.

The association says that there is a lot of work but notes that journeys can be slow because of the volume of traffic in Palma and the lack of fast lanes for taxis. It stresses that longer journeys aren't always the more profitable, as it will depend on how long a driver has waited to pick one up.

Greater efficiency will be achieved, the association believes, through a mobile app of the type that exists in other cities. The support of the town hall is being sought for this, and it has promised to consider such a project.