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Spanish taxi drivers ask Government to bring in urgent new measures to save industry from bankruptcy

Spanish taxi drivers have asked Government to bring in urgent new measures to save the industry from bankruptcy.

Yesterday, Federación Española del Taxi (FEDETAXI), a Spanish taxi driver organisation, presented to the Spanish government a drastic list of economic and social measures that should be taken to protect the taxi industry.

Trade representatives have asked for more financial help and the distribution of masks and other protective equipment to help shield taxi drivers who are at a greater risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

FEDETAXI, who are the Spanish members of TaxiEurope Alliance (TEA), have also told the government that traffic restrictions put in place has seen long-distance trips fall around 88%, and 87% within cities.

Only essential travel can now be made in Spain, which has seen vehicles accessing Madrid and Barcelona fall by about a third based on traffic figures taken from last week.

A FEDETAXI spokesperson said: “The reduction in the use of taxis is huge. Since the State of Emergency was put in place the lack of passengers is absolute. The use nowadays is just an 11% of the normal figures outside of a state of emergency.”

According to the driver group, some cities have already taken measures to reduce the size of taxi fleets working at any one time. In Barcelona just one in five taxis are actively working. In Seville, Jane, Fuerteventura about a quarter of the fleet size are still working during the coronavirus crisis.

The FEDETAXI spokesperson continued saying: “It is a very serious situation. The economic activity and income within the taxi sector has fallen over 75%; it is currently just 10-15% of the normal figures we can find without an emergency situation. The few taxi drivers that are still working find themselves without proper protections. They are at risk.

“Of the 63,917 licensed taxi drivers in Spain, the majority of them are having a lot of trouble accessing financing and they have plenty of invoices pending of being paid.”

Given the severity of the situation facing the taxi industry, FEDETAXI has asked the Spanish government to put in place a series of proposed measures before the start of April. These include:

  • Drivers should be considered worthy of “special protection”. They should be issued masks and other protective equipment. They should also be prioritised when the COVID-19 tests become available.

  • The mandatory contributions to the social security system should be cancelled as long as the State of emergency is in place (including March as a whole).

  • Because industry activity has ceased drivers should receive the “extraordinary aid” approved by the government in the State of Emergency Decree issued on 17 March.

  • A 50% reduction in the payment of indirect (sales tax) and direct (income tax) taxes should be approved, at least, for the first semester of 2020. It could be prolonged to the second semester if work levels are still low.

  • Every quantity owed to the taxi drivers in the form of tax retributions, oil payment etc. should be given back to them by the national tax authorities.

  • Leasing, renting or loans payments should be postponed for three months, or more, if they incur in the state of emergency, or the following month. The payment should be made at the end of the leasing, renting or loan period, what could be prorogued in the same numbers of months as the previous extension.

Image: Barcelona taxis ranking

FEDETAXI finally added: “We would like to remind the government and the society that the public transport sectors is essential for the mobility in our country. It will also be a healthy sign of life going back to normal of our cities and country when the state of emergency ends.

“Taxi drivers need protection, proportional to the effort they are doing in these extraordinary circumstances.”

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