Path cleared for taxi reform

Prime Minister George Papandreou gave his approval on Thursday to legislation that will liberalize the taxi sector and Transport Minister Yiannis Ragousis is due to reveal the details of the draft law in the next few days.

Ragousis was involved in a standoff with cabbies last month after scrapping plans for a partial deregulation that would have maintained limits on licenses that would be linked to each city?s population. Instead, he favored a total liberalization.

However, sources indicated that the bill will contain some restrictions. Cabbies applying for new licenses will have to have a clean criminal record, own a new vehicle that produces low carbon emissions, have good knowledge of Greek and be able to pay the application fee, which is likely to cost up to 3,000 euros.

Sources said that some special rules regarding the number of licenses to be issued might apply to islands and remote areas.

Ragousis is also thought to be toying with the idea of deregulating the fares charged by cabbies.