Biel Moragues. | Miquel À. Cañellas

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Biel Moragues, president of one of Mallorca's taxi-driver associations, says that protest action might be taken if there aren't measures to mitigate the impact of the rising cost of fuel.

These are measures for the Spanish government to adopt, such as a cut in the rate of IVA (VAT). Moragues believes that it is good that politicians are telling people to be responsible and to rationalise their consumption, but the politicians should reciprocate by cutting taxes. "If not, there will be a vicious spiral that will end with a rise in price of everything, including basic necessities."

Moragues has known tough times in the past. The very recent past of Covid was difficult for taxi drivers, but fuel was fifty cents cheaper. In the transport sector in general right now, he appreciates that the increased fuel prices affect large vehicles far more. Lorries and coaches are "worse off" because they consume that much more fuel. On the other hand, the nature of their business is different - they generate far higher revenues.

Trucks, he notes, can be empty, but then truck drivers don't go around looking for customers. Taxi drivers do. Or were. Moragues explains that it costs 13 cents per kilometre for fuel alone. In Palma, the daytime rate makes the city the cheapest provincial capital by far, "but we have the highest costs because of insularity". Fuel is in any event ten cents more expensive than on the mainland.

Drivers, he says, now prefer to go to the airport, where they can wait for customers, or to Playa de Palma, where the rates are slightly more profitable. "Going around looking for customers is becoming unaffordable, but then Palma is not geared up adequately as there are not enough ranks for the entire fleet. It is completely unaffordable to go empty to outlying areas such as Son Roca or Son Cladera without knowing if passengers will be picked up. It's just not feasible."

At national level, an urgent meeting has been requested with the government to find a solution. Moragues explains that the drivers are giving the politicians time, so that they can react. "But if they don't, we're going to have to do something because it's unsustainable."