Monday, February 26

Queues in the taxi referendum on the liberalization of Ayuso: “Let her work without schedules”

Encarna Heredia, 58, and Verónica Sanz, 30, are mother and daughter, from Carabanchel and taxi drivers. They share a car that the mother usually drives in the mornings and the daughter in the afternoons. The split day allows them to reconcile work life with personal life, in a balance that is in danger of blowing up if the plans of the Community of Madrid end up being approved to liberalize service hours and eliminate mandatory rest days, two of the novelties of the new regulation prepared by the regional government.

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“Let her come [Isabel Díaz Ayuso, la presidenta madrileña] to work a week without schedules and tell me that you earn more, Encarna places on Thursday at noon, when mother and daughter go to vote in the referendum promoted by the Madrid Professional Taxi Federation (FPTM), the majority association in the sector , which takes place this Thursday and also on Friday in the parking lot of the Metropolitan Stadium.

The trickle of white cars with red stripes along the esplanade is constant during the first day. All the voting tables, located under outdoor tents, accumulate small queues. The FPTM raised the query to settle doubts about the representativeness of the association that the Ministry of Transport wields so as not to review its proposal. Together with the smallest, Elite Taxi, the FPTM gathers about 60% of authorizations, while the Auto-Taxi Union Association and the Madrid Taxi Association, which in theory are not opposed to the regional government’s plans, have lower percentages. .

There are two voting envelopes, depending on whether the voter is a license holder or not. In addition to the time deregulation, everyone is asked about the end of the payroll regime. The holders are also asked if they accept that the limit of three licenses per head increase to 50 and if they agree that prices are deregulated. “We came because we were off today,” says Veronica, who is carrying her son in her arms. In a traditionally male sector –in the FPTM they calculate that only 5% are women– both she and her mother understand that liberalization will lead to greater precariousness. “Imagine a Monday, a Tuesday, with 16,000 taxis on the street,” she protests. There is not going to be enough demand for so much supply, they understand, especially when the transport vehicles with drivers (known as VTC), some 8,000, continue to have permission to make urban journeys.

No to the continuous schedule

Encarna has been in the taxi for 23 years, in this time she says that she has not suffered major problems of machismo, except for the occasional comment of a client who says he is surprised that she drives “like a man”, and criticizes that “now come” Ayuso, ” who is so much for conciliation”, to unleash competition without filters. “85% of the sector is autonomous and is not willing to be overexploited,” says José Miguel Fúnez, a member of the FPTM board. “If now we are in the car from 12 to 14 hours a day,” he adds.

Despite the anger, the atmosphere in the electoral parking lot is relaxed. A voter approaches Fúnez jokingly, laughing that he is a Real Madrid fan and he was not amused to have to come to the Atlético stadium. The Federation trusts that some taxi drivers from the associations formally favorable to the Government’s plans will join the rejection to increase the pressure. The firmness of the PP in the matter is linked by some to the presidency in the Unauto VTC employers’ association of José Manuel Berzal, a former Madrid councilor and former PP regional deputy.

A thirty-year-old taxi driver, who discloses the situation of the sector on social networks from the account ‘Soy la del taxi’, but asks not to reveal her name, points out that mobility is today a “big deal”, in which there is interest in investing , not so much for “making bread”, as he calls it when driving. The general electoral success of Ayuso in Madrid is not replicated, in that sense, among taxi drivers, says Fúnez: “He has managed to get 90% or 95% of the sector to change their vote to the other side.”