OPINION

Backfiring strike?

I wouldn’t say that this week’s four-day taxi strike – which protesting taxi drivers sought to worsen further by parking their cabs in major roads – was a particularly clever move. In the absence of thousands of cabs from the city center this week, we witnessed a significant decongestion, swifter service on public transport and easier circulation for other traffic. Through their absence, taxi drivers merely reminded people that they may indeed provide a useful service, but they also contribute to worsening this city’s chief problem – congestion – which causes the most stress and wasted hours for its 5 million citizens. A 24-hour strike would probably have served protesters’ interests better than four days in a row off the streets. Indeed, those who choose to travel by cab due to necessity or habit would indeed have felt inconvenienced on the first day of the strike. However, as the action continued, most people would have sought other ways of commuting – and would have experienced these cheaper alternatives (such as buses and trolleys) at their best (that is, unencumbered by around 14,000 taxis on the roads!). According to news reports this week, there were some who did miss the city’s taxis, but most seemed to think that things were better without them. Perhaps protesting cabbies should bear this in mind before they decide to resume strike action which might backfire…