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Making Taxis Easier To Access In Italy A Difficult Challenge.jpg

Making Taxis Easier to Access in Italy: A Difficult Challenge

This summer, many tourists and residents of top Italian destinations faced difficulties in finding taxis. Unlike countries where ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are widely available, Italy has heavily restricted these services, leading to long taxi lines, indefinite waits when calling for a taxi, and unavailability of taxis on regular taxi apps.

The situation prompted the Italian government to intervene and introduce measures to simplify taxi license procedures. These measures include allowing cities to issue new licenses, both permanent and temporary ones for peak periods or major events. The government will also allow major cities and those with international airports to increase the number of licenses by 20%, with the condition that the new permits must be used for electric or hybrid cars.

However, transportation experts argue that these measures fall short of the needed overhaul of the taxi industry. They suggest that increasing the number of licenses for Italy’s chauffeur services, which work with Uber, would better meet consumer needs. The taxi industry’s strong influence on local and national politics has hindered the liberalization of the market and the introduction of more competition.

Previous attempts to open up the taxi market in Italy have failed due to the strong influence of taxi lobby groups. These lobby groups have the power to disrupt cities through strikes or traffic blockages, which makes it difficult for city governments to implement policies disliked by the taxi lobby.

Industry officials are critical of the new decree, stating that it doesn’t resolve the problem of urban mobility. Italy has fewer taxis per capita compared to other European countries like France and Spain. The competition watchdog is also examining the industry.

Representatives of chauffeur services complain that they are being held hostage by the taxi lobby, preventing them from increasing the number of cars on the road to meet the growing demand. The new measures allowing new licenses are seen as ineffective.

Taxi drivers argue that they are taking the blame for various problems, such as traffic congestion, increased tourism, and inefficient public transportation. They believe that improving local public transportation should be prioritized before considering issuing more licenses. Additionally, issuing new licenses would devalue existing licenses, potentially causing revolt and strikes among taxi drivers.

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