Approximately 200 members of the National Union of Independent Taxi Drives (SNTI) yesterday joined the Next Taxi protest following the refusal of the Municipality Authorisation Authority to suspend the activity of taxi companies authorised to operate in the city of Bucharest, which use rates that are not DTDSC-approved, according to a union release quoted by realitatea.net.Taxi drivers demand higher rates. Next Taxi warns about the fact that tariffs of RON 1.39 or RON 1.40/km are not approved by DTDSC – Authorisation Service and the protest was supposed to make the Municipality take action against and remove from the market taxi companies that are still using such low rates. ‘We support a company that uses a legal rate against other taxi companies that use illegal rates. The reason for this protest is illegality, the right to operate,’ SNTI President Gabriel Stavilaru said yesterday.
He said the protesters could not understand the position of the Bucharest Municipality who, according to Stavilaru, had given a negative answer to their request. ‘We have announced our intention. They have misrepresented it, considering it as a request. When it comes to public assemblies, one doesn’t put in a request, one just announces an intention. There is practically no refusal, there is a just an answer telling us our request has been dismissed. I am not sure what request they mean. We will find out today. We have made no request. We just declared our protest under Law 60 of 2001 (on the organisation of public assemblies – a/n) three days before the scheduled date,’ SNTI president added. In what regards the possibility of setting up a meeting with Municipality officials, Gabriel Stavilaru said, although it had been requested, it would not take place. Some of the carriers authorised by the Next Taxi dispatching centre had initially announced protests for March 21, but then postponed them to March 25, because the legal requirements had not been fulfilled.
The dispatch service stresses that, since its legally approved rate is RON 1.77/Km, the company is unable to sell its services because of lower, unapproved rates it says are used by some other companies kept on the market by the Municipality, even with the VAT growing from 19 to 24 per cent on all expenditures rates are based on. In this context, any delay in making a legal decision and intervention by the Municipality in this situation will push Next Taxi to bankruptcy.