Wednesday, 30 January 2008
Touche pas à mon taxi !
Wednesday morning hundreds of taxis blocked the streets in Place République as a stand against Sarkozy’s intention of introducing a few thousand more taxis in Paris. Through adding more taxis to the streets, Sarkozy hopes to add jobs and make it easier to catch a cab in Paris.
Laurent Lasne, author of “Taxis,Paris solidaires", which recounts the history of the taxi in Paris, stated several concerns with Sarkozy’s plan. It will introduce too many taxis into the area which will flood the market, and no one will be able to make enough to live on. One taxi driver agreed, “Yes, we’ll be doing crossword puzzles all day”. Another concern is the traffic. Taxis spend much of their time already in traffic and they say introducing yet more taxis will add to the aggravation. The drivers pointed out that the only time it is hard to catch a cab is at rush hour, and adding more traffic will not be a solution.
Another driver was upset that along with job security, he was outraged that Sarkozy was considering waiving the license fee for the new drivers which can cost tens of thousands of Euros. Current drivers will want to be reimbursed for the licenses they have paid for.
Alain Estival, the President of one of the taxi unions, Federation Nationale des Artisans du Taxi, stated some of his concerns as well as reassured the public that they are willing to come to the table to negotiate. He also stated that they are not leaving their clients in need. If people need to make it to their medical appointments, we will take them, and then return to the strike. He then pulled out the very first money he made as a cabbie years ago. It was a five dollar bill given to him by a Texan who told him to keep it for good luck. Monsieur Estival hopes that the bill will bring him luck during negotiations.