Minsk taxi drivers prepare protests (Video)
7:46, — society
Carriage of passengers has lost its profitability.
Prices of fuel, car parts and repairs grow, but taxi fares don't rise. At the same time, the number of people who want to use a taxi has decreased. The Soviet stereotype that a taxi ride is an expensive pleasure becomes reality both for passengers and for taxi drivers. Drivers say taxi services are too cheap in Minsk, Belsat TV reports.
“Dispatch offices shouldn't restrict the fare growth. If we compare the recent price increase we can see that bread went up 80%, but a taxi ride costs the same. But I want to eat too,” taxi driver Dzianis says.
There are about 20 taxi companies in Minsk with almost identical fares of 4,000-6,000 rubles per kilometre. The minimum price for a ride is 30,000 rubles, but in reality, prices start from 50,000 rubles. Taxi drivers say they face a difficult choice taking into account fuel prices of 9,000-9,500 rubles per litre, repair and car parts prices.
“We cannot earn in this way. You have either to maintain your cab or to drive a junk car putting at risk the life of passengers and your own life,” taxi driver Maksim Rakovich said.
There was an attempt to give taxi drivers newer cabs, but a car lease won't be paid off even in 5 years. However, many Minsk residents find current taxi fares too high.
There's what people in the Belarusian capital say:
“Are you asking a pensioner about taxis? I don't use them.”
“I try to use my own car. I even pick up my wife if necessary.”
“I took a taxi to return home. I'm a student having my exam session now. Service is poor but costs madly much.”
Experienced taxi drivers notice both a decrease in demand and a decline of confidence in drivers and respect for their work. The market is oversaturated. According to unofficial data, there are 8,000 legal and the same number of illegal cabs in Minsk.
Requirements for taxi drivers are not as strict today as they used to be.
“Any guy with a driver's license can work as a taxi driver. He cannot even imagine what the road is, how to carry a passenger from point A to point B and do it safely, which is the most important thing. They drive through a red light and violate traffic rules. Look how many offences taxi drivers commit,” taxi driver Kanstantsin says.
Minsk taxi drivers are going to organise protests to discuss their problems, make proposals and improve the situation. The independent trade union hopes to get permission for the protest action.
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