A car with driver and a taxi in Marbella / josele

Marbella taxi operators call for public support in fight against private hire vehicles with driver

Businesses complain that VTC drivers are "invading hotel receptions, positioning themselves in taxi ranks or picking up clients without being contracted" and add the Local Police "are overwhelmed" with the problem

JOAQUINA DUEÑAS

Marbella’s taxi drivers are appealing to the residents of Marbella and San Pedro to counteract the proliferation of private hire vehicles with drivers (VTC) in the towns. "We can only ask for help from our people, from whom we will undoubtedly get the collaboration we need to continue working with enthusiasm and dignity," they said in a manifesto to which SUR has had access.

"Our peak working season is only four or five months a year", they explained, while maintaining that the VTCs are taking over. They argue that the cars with drivers are: "invading hotel receptions, positioning themselves in taxi ranks or picking up clients without being contracted".

This is particularly intense during the summer when it is common to see queues of customers at the busiest taxi ranks. "It is not the same in February as it is now", said the recently appointed president of Taxisol, Víctor Vázquez, who has also appealed for understanding from users as during the summer and especially at peak times.

More drivers needed

The company is also looking for new drivers and prospective candidates will be able to sit an exam in July: "We have an exam on the first Wednesday in July to get more drivers. With the pandemic, many have left. Some of them went to drive lorries and others to become delivery drivers," Vázquez explained.

The next exam was scheduled for August, so "they had a meeting with the councillor and we expressed our need to have more frequent exams to incorporate drivers, which has been granted," he said. He pointed out that VTC drivers "are not required to have a professional licence to work, as we are, it is enough to know how to drive. There is no professionalism test, like there is with taxis".

Police controls

The president of Taxisol has said that he is “highly satisfied” with the work done by the local police in controlling VTCs. "They do carry out controls. The question is that here we are overwhelmed,” he said adding that vehicles also go to Marbella from other areas to find work, making it difficult for the police to control the situation.

Vázquez recalls that "there is a lot of work in summer but in winter we don't have any". Added to this is the fact that "apps offer prices of five euros in the centre of Marbella or seven to go to San Pedro, when it is worth 14. The driver is paid the difference by the platform because it is advertising, but it costs the user seven euros, which is what people see," he said.