Row upon row of taxi sat empty and idle in Milan on Friday, as drivers called a one-day unauthorised strike in Italy.
Vehicles were not taking fares in Rome, Turin or Naples either, in a protest against new measures proposed by Prime Minister Mario Monti. The government wants to liberalise the industry, creating more licences and more competition.
However, some like taxi driver Sergio Albano, said work was already scarce: “If the cake is now going to be divided into 10 slices as opposed to three – you tell me, what am I going to eat at the end of the month?”
Driver Alessio Ursicino agreed: “There isn’t enough work for us now. There are 15-20 taxis at every taxi rank, with long waiting times. The liberalisation would be a disaster for us, especially with our running costs.”
In a long queue for a cab at Rome’s Stazione Termini some of those waiting expressed little sympathy for the unannounced industrial action as the government tries to boost economic growth.
“I think we should all do our share and we should all be positive because if this strike is the start and protest is the answer to any attempt to liberalise, we are really starting off on the wrong foot,” said would be taxi passenger Stafano Paglia.
Taxi drivers have scheduled another strike on January 23 and in Rome they plan on blocking traffic in the streets near the Circus Maximus on Monday.