In the end there has been an understanding, enough for the taxi sector to suspend the protests that began tomorrow in the capital. The majority association, Elite Taxi, responsible for the call, made the decision once the Santa Cruz City Council addressed their claims. On the one hand, the Taxi Board approved reducing the number of vehicles on the street to 50%, as demanded by the sector, which ensures that there is no work for everyone. “The City Council has promised that, in the event of any change regarding the number of taxis on the street, it will be agreed upon and decided by the taxi drivers, just as we have been demanding since it was imposed on us at Christmas that 60 % of the vehicles”, the president of Elite Taxi, Miguel Ojeda, told DIARIO DE AVISOS. Thus, as of Monday, only half of the taxis will work.
The second of the claims has to do with the study of the number of real licenses that the city supports, and that is, according to Elite, well below the current more than 700. A study for which Public Services announced that the first steps are already being taken. Ojeda lamented that the Consistory always ends up responding “as a protest blow”.
The road to the agreement was opened with the celebration, yesterday, of the Taxi Board, in which the City Council finally accepted the sector’s request to keep 50% of the fleet in service. The Taxi Board was chaired by the first deputy mayor and mayor of Public Services, Guillermo Díaz Guerra, together with representatives of the Elite entities, Radio Taxi San Marcos and the Tele Taxi Isla de Tenerife Association.
Díaz Guerra commented that “the need to reduce the number of taxis on the street was discussed while the economic situation is unfavorable, as a result of the pandemic, so, at the request of the sector, the number of active licenses is reduced. on the street at 50%, alternating the even days with the odd ones”. The mayor recalled that “these decisions need a technical and economic motivation, since if there is no risk that the decrees will be annulled by third parties, so we will remain in this situation temporarily until the epidemiological and economic situation is favorable ”.
“It has been accredited during the meeting”, added Díaz Guerra, that “we are complying with the current calendar by which the sector is governed, which was the one proposed by the Elite Taxi association and accepted by the mayor, José Manuel Bermúdez, and the person in charge of Public Services, in a meeting that we held prior to Christmas, so it is certain that it has been imposed”, defended the mayor.
On the other hand, the capital city councilor pointed out that “in this meeting it has been verified, before the three associations that represent the city’s taxi drivers, that from the Public Services area I have commissioned the technicians to contract the study of the ratio of licenses in Santa Cruz, since last week, adapting it to the new reality, such as the appearance of new mobility vehicles such as scooters, motorcycles and rental or shared cars. And he added that “the contract is currently in the bidding phase, and it is expected that the result will be delivered, if possible, during the first quarter or at the latest before the summer.”
Díaz Guerra highlighted that “this study of the taxi ratio is a commitment that we acquired when we arrived at the Public Services area and it has been delayed in time, since the situation of the pandemic did not allow us to have a real x-ray of the economic situation of the sector in the city”. And he recalled that “the previous study dates back to 2015, that the taxi sector considered it good, and that, for this reason, millions of euros were invested in withdrawing licenses, and that it was the previous government group in 2020 that that stopped endowing that budget item”.
Another of the aspects discussed was that of the conversion of taxis from five to seven seats, in which Díaz Guerra pointed out that “no new license has been given for taxis, but what has been done by the City Council is to grant authorization to two vehicles that they go from five to seven occupants, which favors large families who until now were forced to take two taxis for their trips”. Faced with the accusation of hiding that fact, the councilor stated that “it was discussed at the Taxi Table and published the next day”
The mayor of Public Services insisted that “the agreements and negotiations that affect the sector are discussed and adopted at the Taxi Board and not through other channels. This is the agreed mode and the one that provides all the guarantees to the sector”.
By virtue of the agreement reached, the City Council already pointed out yesterday that it made no sense to maintain the protests called for tomorrow, Friday, since it was accredited at the meeting that the commitments agreed between both parties were being fulfilled, as well as the calendar agreed upon in previous meetings.