Hint of compromise in cabbie row not enough

There was a chink of light on Monday in the dispute between taxi drivers and the government over the liberalization of their sector but not enough to end the cabbies? strike.

During a meeting with union representatives, Transport Minister Yiannis Ragousis said that he would apply limits on the number of licenses that will be issued based on population statistics.

However, he added that he would not be ready to unveil detailed proposals until the end of the month.

This response was not enough for the cabbies, who said that the will continue their protests. This will include a picket of the Transport Ministry on Mesogeion Avenue for at least the next 48 hours.

Taxi owners and drivers are not opposing the opening up of their profession per se 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.

Ragousis also warned the cabbies that authorities would remove the license plates of any taxis used to block roads during protests.

Police on Crete fired tear gas to disperse cabbies who had blocked the road to Iraklio Airport.

There were also delays for several hours on the Athens-Patra highway at Rio due to a protest there by cabbies.

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