Taxi drivers keep up pressure on government

Taxi drivers are staging several protest around Greece as they enter their third week of protests and continue to push the government to reach a compromise over its plans to liberalize their sector.

Dozens of cabbies gathered outside the Transport Ministry on Mesogeion Avenue on Monday morning. A small group of representatives sought talks with Transport Minister Yiannis Ragousis, who so far has refused to back down from his plans to completely deregulate the sector.

Taxi owners and drivers are not opposing the entry of newcomers into the field but are asking for a limit to be set on the number of licenses that will be issued. They want the ceiling to be linked to the population of each city as well as factors such as whether it is a tourist destinations, as the government had set out in its initial proposals.

Some cabbies have also suggested that they should be compensated for the high cost of licenses that they recently bought from other drivers. The government has flatly rejected this option.

On Monday morning, cabbies in western Greece blocked access to the Rio-Antirio Bridge as part of the ongoing protests. A demonstration was also held at Iraklio Airport on Crete.

Drivers on the Athens-Corinth highway were forced onto the old national road after cabbies blocked the toll station at Rio.