Italy taxi strike ends after unions reach deal with government

Rome, Feb 22 (IANS/AKI) Italian taxi drivers on Wednesday called off a six-day strike after unions struck an overnight deal with the government to regulate ride-hailing service Uber and car-hire services.

The government will work with taxi and limousine service representatives to hammer out guidelines for the sector within a month, starting Wednesday, the Transport Ministry said in a statement.

“Under the accord, drivers accepted the government’s request to end their nationwide protests and resume normal taxi services immediately,” read the statement.

The strike had left commuters stranded across the country and at times violent protests caused disruption to public transport in Rome and other cities with taxis only giving rides to the disabled or those needing to get to hospitals.

Drivers say current legislation, which suspends until the end of 2017 norms to control car-hire and car-share services, aids app-based Uber’s “irregular” inroads into Italy’s rigidly regulated taxi industry.

Unlike taxis, Uber and NCC drivers can buy licences in smaller towns, where they cost less, but use them to work in cities.

Taxi drivers are also angry they have to charge fixed tariffs for rides while Uber and NCCs can charge what they like.

Supporters of Uber and cars rented with a driver say Italians want greater choice in ride-hailing options.

–IANS/AKI

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