blame the traffic, the government listens to us –

blame the traffic, the government listens to us -


Queues waiting for the taxi at Termini Station in Rome (Imago)

Codacons has calculated that at night in the Italian metropolises 42% of calls for a taxi go unanswered. At dinner time the percentage drops to 30%, which means that one in 3 people can’t even talk to an operator. For weeks in the main Italian cities, ithe taxi chaos. Rome, Milan, Florence, Naples. Very long queues of people at stations and airports (but not only). Reservations impossible. Endless waiting on the phone. What happens? Simple: the demand for white cars increases but the number of those available remains the same, thanks to the tourism boom that Italy is experiencing in this period and which sees millions of tourists arrive in the cities of art above all, where taxis therefore they are unobtainable.

Less than 100,000 taxis in Italy

In Italy the total number of taxis does not reach 100,000 units. Rome with its 7,800 white cars leads the ranking which means about 340 taxis for every 100,000 inhabitants. In Milan there are just under 5 thousand. In London, where the market is liberalized, there are 91 thousand plus another 77 thousand unofficial. The Municipalities decide the number of licenses and this has always been a very hot topic. Above all for the pool of votes it collects.

Users: Corporate interests prevail

In fact, no new ones have been released for decades. “An all-Italian anomaly with the taxi driver corporation blocking the increase in licenses,” he explains Furio Truzzi, president of Assoutenti who recalls, for example, how “in Rome the last increase was made by the then mayor Walter Veltroni in 2006″. Then nothing more. The cost of a licence, in Rome for example, is around 120-130 thousand euros. To which must be added just under 90 euros per day for various expenses. But it’s not just a problem of licenses, reflects Truzzi: «Here the problem is that the right is transformed into a privilege, unjustified corporate interests prevail with a blockade that has no equal in the world and which in fact becomes a great and powerful disservice that it can no longer be tolerated.”

Taxi outside the Competition Bill

In the summer of 2022, article 10 of the Competition law bill, later approved by the Draghi government, was removed after strikes and dozens of taxi driver protests in the square: it delegated the reform of non-scheduled public transport to the government, i.e. taxis and ncc , with the adaptation of the offer also through web applications and the «promotion of competition, also in the context of granting licenses». Among the opponents also Lega and Fratelli d’Italia who had supported the protest of the taxi drivers. Today the government led by Giorgia Meloni is watching, for now, and in the new Competition Bill, which has been stopped for two months, there is no trace of taxis. Italia Viva has just presented a bill to regulate the market.

Taxi drivers: we are not the problem

But for Loreno Bittarelli, president of Radio Taxi 3570, the largest taxi driver cooperative in Europe which has also recently entered into an agreement (highly criticized) with Uber, the problem «is not having more taxis, but improving the mobility of those that already exist: «We really think that with 2 thousand more taxis in Rome the queues disappear? Let’s even put 10,000 of them, but then they’ll get stuck in the unorganized streets to let them go around freely”.

“Few public transport”

According to Bittarelli, there is a problem of lack of public transport: “Taxis are an additional service, not a substitute, if in Rome you close the subway at 21 it is clear that you will have a greater demand for taxis”. The double-shift system just approved in the capital and not yet launched “doesn’t solve it: we are as embittered as the customers, but we ask to open a table and make a serious reasoning to find solutions”. And he proposes, for example, to “modulate the rates according to the hour: demand would be lightened during peak hours and taxi drivers would not have downtime”.

CGIL: regulate the platforms of multinationals

The theme for Nicola Di Giacobbe, coordinator of Unica Filt Cgil, it is the multinationals not the increase in taxis “which are an additional service and not a substitute for buses”: “FreeNow, Uber and now even Bolt act undisturbed and exploit the drivers, regulation is needed”. There is a dpcm on the regulation of the use of apps, but it has never been issued. “The government is doing nothing – complains Di Giacobbe – and his silence winks at the multinationals: all the trade union organizations have asked the government and the Ministry of Transport for a meeting, no one has replied, we are available for any discussion, but we are also ready to mobilize».

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