T’is the week before christmas and all over town,
Jersey taxi drivers are bringing the Christmas cheer down…
If you were trying to get into town to Christmas shop then chances are you were in a traffic jam in the rain surrounded by po-faced men; the beaming lights on top of their cars glowing in the rain as they wasted their petrol and made town visitor’s lives miserable to point out how hard their lives would be under proposed new regulation to our island taxi services.
We all know how hard the life of a Jersey taxi driver is. If you’ve ever got a taxi from the airport to town you’ll no doubt have been told. It’s often the subject of taxi driver banter, along with personal monologues on how terrible Jersey is. Honestly, it’s they’re employed by Guernsey tourism.
Their beef today was to highlight their plight; how proposed regulation that included imposing maximum fares and making alternative methods of payment a compulsory option would, although making the service better for users, be a pain for the downtrodden, put-upon quick-to-strike taxi drivers.
The Transport and Technical Services Minister Deputy Eddie Noel has unveiled plans which, by 2019, will see all taxis and cabs have to charge the same maximum prices, electronic payments in vehicles and better access for disabled islanders. Sure, making every cab disabled access is ridiculous and about as sensible as building control laws of a similar nature but preventing christmas shopping for something proposed for action by 2019 probably wasn’t the answer.
The drivers feel that the decisions have already been made and that deregulation will mean more taxis. That would mean more competition, but a better service for users. Limiting the number of taxis makes the service worse, not better – but drivers feels it threatens livelihood. It’s like limiting the number of websites allowed to sell a particular item. It’s just not logical. Under the new proposals, taxi firms will also be able to charge booking fees for pre-booked journeys. You’d think they’d actually like that…
No, that was just one the things that meant they felt the need to strike with no notice and cause today’s debacle. Strike against last minute strikes by getting some bike lights and cycling home from this year’s christmas party!