Following two hours of talks with transport minister Marc Pons, taxi-driver representatives emerged from Thursday's meeting to announce that they are dissatisfied with proposals made to them. The drivers, who are opposed to the new bus services from the airport to tourist resorts, were presented with proposals for a taxi rank inside the intermodal station in Palma, a digital platform with information regarding taxi services and other ranks at main bus stations (Inca and Manacor). There has been a longstanding call for the ranks at these stations, according to the government.
While willing to hear what the government had to offer, the driver representatives considered the proposals to be inadequate and the various associations immediately confirmed their intentions to protest outside the transport ministry next Wednesday.
The meeting was also attended by the mayor of Palma, José Hila, and the director for transport, Jaume Mateu, and there were other suggestions put forward, such as an information campaign directed at tourists aimed at combating pirate taxis, grants for electric vehicles and preferential access to the future bus fast lanes. As far as the government was concerned, these were all to help improve the promotion of taxis as a form of public transport.
Gabriel Moragues of the federation of independent drivers believes that the new bus services will be "taxis with sixty places" and demands that "multinationals" are regulated (a reference to certain bus companies).
The driver representatives argue that the bus services should pass through the intermodal station. "We cannot understand why a resident of Muro or Sa Pobla should have to go to the airport via the intermodal station while tourists can go direct." The new services will benefit tourists but not residents, given that they will only operate for six months. "Does no one go to the airport in winter?" asks José Alama of another association.
The protest next Wednesday will involve a demonstration march starting at the transport ministry and ending outside the Consolat de Mar, the headquarters of the presidency. It will start at 10.00 and conclude at 13.30.
Meanwhile, the government's spokesperson, Pilar Costa, said yesterday that meetings will continue to be held with taxi-driver representatives, adding that a decision had been taken for "improvement for the citizens".
She accepted that there were clear disagreements at the Thursday meeting and that she respects the demands being made by the drivers. But she insisted that the government has to ensure that general interests should be applied to all citizens. The government, she added, has shown a willingness to engage in dialogue in order that there can be "maximum consensus" and emphasised that new proposals for improvement have been made at meetings with the drivers.