Ministry planning two-tier taxi system

The Transport Ministry appears to have found a way to liberalize the taxi sector without issuing more licenses and further burdening a nationwide fleet of 30,000 vehicles.

It is reportedly planning to allow two types of taxi services – the current yellow taxis and a new type which will operate like minicabs do in the UK with preset fares and without a meter.

According to the ministry?s scheme, the second type of service will include licensed minivans which will be able to carry up to nine passengers. There are plans to allow regular taxi licenses to be converted into licenses for nine-seat vehicles.

Ministry officials, who are in talks with taxi drivers, aim to draft legislation that would allow private firms to operate fleets of minivans that would mostly serve tourists, ferrying them between the capital and its airport.

There has been no official reaction yet from unionists representing cabbies, who have seen their incomes drop by some 40 percent since the onset of the crisis.

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