…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger
19 days lasted the strike of Madrid taxi drivers, in case you have not noticed. Drivers and owners had some lukewarm support from their compatriots in Barcelona. The point of the strike? Competition from Uber and similar organisations catering to the peoples transport. The competition diminishes the value of taxi licences. In Spain, as here, the cost is not negligible. According to time-honoured principle; “God, I wish my neighbour’s goat died also”, taxistas want more government regulation imposed on their competitors, just as on themselves and more so. Safety of the public is, as usual, the red herring.
Use of taxis for emergencies was excepted. Some traffic experts claim that taxis contribute to the mess by driving around, looking for customers. Residents of Madrid enjoyed clean air and unblocked streets.
I do not know whether somebody noticed that the strike made powerful point for electric, driver-less vehicles. Taxis are normally used for short distances, with a lot of standing time thus available for recharging, and driver-less cars would be carrying approximately 100 kilograms less. A typical taxi driver today would not find his way out of the paper bag without GPS and he knows local history well, but only if you ask about his native village in Pakistan. With currently fashionable “environmentalism” and governments willing to impose more rules on the public, the typical taxi may go the way of its horse drawn predecessor.