The new Councilor for Development of the Junta de Andalucía, Marifrán Carazo, met this morning with several representatives of the taxi sector of the community to hear their demands in relation to transport services with driver (VTC) and prevent the open conflict in Barcelona and Madrid extends to this region, which would be the first crisis of the bipartisan Government of PP and Citizens. The union, for now, has chosen to exhaust the path of dialogue, while Carazo has avoided commenting on the position of the Executive of the popular Juan Manuel Moreno, on the situation in the sector.
The owner of Development has won time agreeing to create a working group that will meet within 15 days, with this seeks to appease the tension between the main stakeholders and minimize potential clashes with local governments, such as Seville, led by the PSOE , which has accepted the requests of the taxi drivers and has raised them to the Board as a measure of pressure to guarantee peace in the streets.
The taxi drivers represented by the Andalusian Federation of Autonomous Taxi (FAAT), the Confederation of Taxis of the Costa del Sol, Elite Taxi Sevilla and Solidaridad del Taxi, also from Seville and one of the most belligerent associations of the guild, have presented to the counselor a series of proposals very similar to those of their colleagues in Barcelona and Madrid and that will formalize in the next hours. These include the imposition of a pre-contract between 30 minutes and one hour (which can be extended to 15 minutes from Barcelona), the elimination of geolocation and the obligation to return to the base. Some measures that have been taken by the Government of the Generalitat, causing the abandonment of Uber and Cabify platforms in Barcelona, but that have the frontal opposition of the president of the Community of Madrid, Ángel Garrido, of the PP as the counselor. "At the moment we have seen more sensitivity to the problems of taxi in Andalusia by the counselor than Garrido to colleagues in Madrid," said Miguel Ruano, president of FAAT after the meeting that has lasted for two and a half hours .
The different groups of the taxi for now will wait for the commission to move forward, which will be made up of technicians from the council and the taxi sector, before adopting other pressure measures. "The situation of the taxi in Andalusia is different than that of Madrid and Barcelona, we can not afford the same actions as in other places," said Ruano. Although the positions between the different groups vary. From Elite Taxi Sevilla, its president, Pedro López, is more in favor of throwing himself into the streets than FAAT.
Carazo, in a press release, has expressed his willingness "to find the balance between both sectors and thus achieve a standardized coexistence that entails a better service to the citizen". Defining the framework of action of the taxi and the VTC is a demand of all the sectors involved in the conflict. Andalusia is the third community in Spain with more VTC licenses (1,869 of the national total of 12,865, according to the Ministry of Development) and Malaga, with 1,184, and Seville, with 222, are the third and fourth cities, respectively, with more authorized vehicles of this type circulating through its streets, after Madrid and Barcelona. In the guild of taxi do not have data to quantify the losses that for the sector has meant the emergence of platforms such as Cabify or Uber in the community. The counselor has taken this meeting as "a first contact," although so far has not contacted either the associations or companies of transport vehicles with driver, or with municipalities or representatives of consumers.
The guild in Andalusia, especially in Seville and Malaga is very demanding. In November, in the Andalusian capital, drivers carried out concealed strikes and concentrations that collapsed the center of the city as a measure of pressure for the City Council and the Junta de Andalucía to establish more restrictive regulations for rental vehicles with driver. As well forced to suspend a rally of the PSOE candidate, Susana Díaz, in the Sevillian town of San Juan de Aznalfarache, when a hundred hooded men tried to break into the theater where the event was to be held. In recent days, several taxi drivers have been accused of attacking some drivers of VTC in Granada, where Uber began operating a week ago, despite opposition from the consistory of Granada, ruled by the PSOE.
Taxi war as a measure of political pressure
The measures presented by those responsible for the taxi were taken last Tuesday by the City of Seville, governed by the PSOE, which has decided to send them to the Ministry of Development "with the intention of involving more cities and to serve as a base to reach to a joint agreement between all the involved parties that allows to fix autonomously the competences of the taxi and the VTC ", they explain to this newspaper from the delegation of Mobility of the consistory of the Sevillian capital. Córdoba, indicate from the Seville City Hall, has also been interested in this agreement.
This initiative, however, is not shared by the FAAT, which sees in it a political maneuver of pressure by a local socialist government to the newly inaugurated Government of the Board, led by the PP and Citizens. "Do not play with us," warns Ruano, who recalls that these same claims were transferred to the previous director general of Mobility of the Board, when it was directed by the PSOE, "and did not get down to work either."
He has also disassociated himself from the proposal of the Seville City Council, that of Malaga, governed by the PP, which, however, has also been quite receptive to the demands of the taxi drivers. From the consistory prefer to wait for the next steps of the new counselor and charge the inks against the central government, they argue, has shifted the responsibility of regulating the situation to the Autonomous Communities.
Although they have given their vote of confidence, Ruano and López distrust the positions on the conflict that defend Citizens and PP. Both are radically against the liberalization advocated by Rivera and in terms of recovering the ratio 1:30, Lopez points out that "the current situation in the community prevents return to that proportion at least for four years." "The current legislation has been breached and it is difficult to enforce it," laments Ruano, for his part.
The tourist claim has led Uber to choose Andalusia as its main area of expansion last year. First he landed on the Costa del Sol in June 2018, in September he began to operate in Seville, in October in Córdoba and last week, in the midst of the strikes of taxis in Barcelona and Madrid, began to circulate through the streets of Granada. The consistories of Cordoba and Granada, especially, have been very reluctant to admit the presence of the vehicles of that platform in their respective cities. In Seville, where several cars of Cabify appeared several years ago, a unit of the Local Police has been assigned to mitigate the frictions between both sectors.
The taxi drivers say they want the new regulation that the Board must approve, after the decree approved by the Ministry of Development, is made with the greatest possible consensus, but refuse to sit at the same table with representatives of the VTC. "It is a sector that is not loyal, as long as they do not act correctly and pretend aggressions on the part of taxi drivers that have not been committed, as in the case of Granda, we will not sit down with them," says Ruano, who warns that they will intervene. laws against who accused the taxi drivers of attacking drivers with vehicles.
In this conflict there is a fundamental protagonist and that, for now, has not been taken into account: the client. From FACUA recognize that we must ensure a regulatory framework to ensure the survival of the taxi to prevent the VTC fagocite. "The regulated tariff of the taxi is a guarantee that the VTC can not raise prices at those times and places where demand is very high," they explain, although they warn that many of the measures that have been raised in Barcelona and Madrid and that coincide with those presented in Andalusia, such as temporary pre-contracting, "suppose the death of the VTC".
One of the origins of the conflict is the great lack of taxis that exist in some Spanish towns in relation to the demand generated by tourism. "Instead of increasing the number of licenses, due to pressure from the union itself, what has been done has been to rescue licenses. That lack of taxis in certain times and areas has been replaced by the VTC ", explain from FACUA.