Cabbies to strike over right to increase fares

Some 6,500 taxi drivers in Athens are due to strike next Wednesday because the Transport Ministry has yet to respond to their request to approve yet another set of inflation-busting price hikes. The cabbies want to increase their prices by up to 15 percent – almost four times the inflation rate. The price of a minimum fare, for example, would increase from 2.65 euros to 3 euros, a rise of more than 13 percent. Taxi fares went up by more than double the inflation rate last March. Athenian cab drivers have built up a bad reputation with the city’s residents and visitors for being surly and sometimes overcharging customers. Authorities have tried to change their attitude by organizing etiquette classes. The Transport Ministry revealed this week that it is considering offering cabbies incentives to swap their vehicles for more eco-friendly hybrid cars.