The Portuguese Taxi Federation (FPT) said today that taxi drivers registered a drop in services of around 70% at national level, which they attributed to the decrease in tourism and unfair competition from electronic transport platforms.
The President of the FPT, Carlos Ramos, was heard today at the 2nd Permanent Commission of the Municipal Assembly of Lisbon, in the scope of the Monitoring of the Economic Situation of the City, taking into account the pandemic of covid-19.
“We have a drop in services that is around 70%. Naturally, the absence of tourism was decisive for this drop in services. It is 70% less monthly than we are doing at the national level and we can say that in the city of Lisbon the numbers are identical ”, he said.
According to the official, “many businessmen in Lisbon deposited their licenses at the City Council” and suspended their activity as businessmen, under the legislation that allows cars to be immobilized 365 days, and “some even suspended their activity with the Tax Authority ”.
FPT condemns "unfair competition" from electronic platforms
Carlos Ramos also pointed out that another determining factor for the crisis in the sector “is unfair competition” from Individual and Paid Passenger Transport Platforms in Vehicles that are not characterized by an Electronic Platform (TVDE) that, according to him, “do not comply”, namely limitation on the transport of two customers in the rear seats imposed by law, nor often the 10-hour work limit imposed on drivers.
"They are naturally competing unfairly with us, because there is no effective inspection, because the identification of these vehicles abroad is not possible to follow," he said, stressing that the TVDE car identification sticker "is easy to be removed" and that they must better ways can be found to identify them easily.
The president of FPT also said that this “serious problem affects the sector at national level and in particular” in Lisbon and Porto, “where competition is increasingly fierce”, and defended that the platform service management must pass from central to local power.
Taxi drivers want more inspection of TVDE vehicles
“We ask for a lot of supervision over this type of vehicles and it is not possible to do it because the police itself has difficulties in identifying these cars, unless they stop all the cars to know if they are TVDE or if they are not”, he considered.
Ramos suggested a model already applied in Spain, where both taxi drivers and TVDE vehicles have a blue license plate for easier identification, and authorities are also allowed access to the platform servers to check the total hours worked by drivers.
“Here, the promises were many, regardless of whether we are always against the existence of the law. The promises were many, the Government committed to us that this was a solution that was to correct. There is no correction. And as you know, this situation is worsening in addition to the general crisis that affects everyone, but they further aggravate the situation, naturally damaging the taxi sector ”, he concluded.