Queuing for taxis in Palma. | MDB


The emergency meeting of taxi associations held on Friday in response to the arrival of Uber in Mallorca has resulted in agreement that will change the nature of taxi service on the island.

The associations, there are three of them, have agreed to operate in a unified manner and so allow drivers to pick up fares anywhere on the island. What happens at present, except where specific local arrangements have been set up, is that taxis can only pick up in the municipalities in which they are registered. This will change but not immediately, while there is a rider to this, i.e. when there are situations of "saturation", meaning that taxis in certain municipalities are unable to meet demand.

Key to this agreement will be the adoption of a single app, the president of the self-employed taxi drivers association, Biel Moragues, saying that this is something which the Balearic government should have developed seven years ago when it introduced the Aerotib airport-to-resorts bus service.

"We have established a pre-agreement to unify the taxi service in all the municipalities of Mallorca with a single application, which we hope will be operational in the summer of 2024. We are asking the acting government and whoever comes next to act in order to avoid problems and provide the best service to residents, visitors and tourists."

Related news

The 2,000 or so licences that operate on the island "must work together to reach all places throughout the year and cover services, as this inter-municipality will improve quality". It isn't just the government which has to act. "Mayors will have to take note of this pre-agreement and take the necessary measures to comply with it."

Getting to Uber, the taxi associations will be insisting that the government and other institutions ensure that technological platforms, e.g. Uber, operate according to current legislation. Antoni Bauzá of the CAEB association made clear that Uber drivers cannot pick up at taxi tanks, must have a prior booking at least thirty minutes in advance and cannot use bus lanes. He is of the view that "these applications" are looking to provoke taxi drivers. "But we will not fall for it, as any demonstration would give them free publicity."

Bauzá added: "Taxi drivers have always accepted competition but in a legal way, as competition is open and always welcome, but they can't go around like a bull in a china shop."

He drew attention to the fact that there are around 1,600 taxis in the four municipalities in which Uber have started up (Andratx, Calvia, Llucmajor, Palma). Uber have 50 cars, so "a good quality of service will not be provided to clients". "These people have no market. The vehicles have to be labelled with advertising because nobody knows about them. I think they are taking a sounding to see how taxi drivers react."