More than 1,600 taxi drivers are protesting on Wednesday in Victorei Square, demanding the amendment of the Taxi service law, so that as to allow the punishment of those who carry out unlicensed passenger public transport, and particularly taxi activities.
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"We want the Government of Romania to promote an emergency ordinance to amend Law No. 38/2003 on taxi and hire services, so as to allow the punishment of those who perform unlicensed public passenger transport and in particular taxi transport. At this time they cannot be penalized because of the law text stating that such illegal activities must be proven as having been performed 'repeatedly'," Bogdan Dinca, president of the Confederation of Licensed Romanian Operators and Hauliers (COTAR) Bucharest told AGERPRES.
According to him, there are between 1,500 and 1,700 cars in front of the Victoria Palace of Government, and a bigger rally is slated for February 27 - 28, if the taxi drivers' requests are not met.
Protests are being held simultaneously in Iasi, Brasov, Constanta, Timisoara, Slatina, Targu Mures and Arad, and if the taxi drivers' grievances are not solved the protesters will come to Bucharest on February 27 - 28 along with maxi-taxi, bus and minibus carriers, said Dinca.
"This is not a political rally. We take to the street to once again draw the attention of the Government of Romania that they should have long ago scrap from the Taxi service law the phrase 'repeatedly', introduced in 2015 by former MP and then Transport Minister Lucian Sova, who was recently dismissed. We have repeatedly called for the removal of this phrase from the law, which was introduced to prevent authorities from clamping down on transport piracy. We take to the street because the decision of the European Court of Justice that ruled that the apps that perform unauthorized transport are carriers, not providers of online services, is disregarded. We are not asking for money, we only demand that the law is observed. There are over 100,000 unauthorized persons operating in Romania and UBER, Taxi Fly, Bla Bla Car and Clever Go are running their business unbothered, take orders, cash money, in defiance of transport and taxi service legislation that we observe.