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20-08-2013
Just eight out of Palma's 1'000 plus taxi fleet operated during the eight hours of protest yesterday, leaving thousands of tourists stranded at Palma airport while municipal and non-municipal cabbies argued over who should have the right to collect passengers at Palma airport. Those of the 125'000 passengers who arrived early yesterday were lucky enough to be able to hire one of the 1'000 hire cars available at the airport, but once the rental vehicle fleet had been completely rented out, it was either wait in the cold or battle in the public bus queue. The row is over a change in the law by Madrid which has opened up the port and airports to all of the island's taxis. Yesterday Palma cabbies, fighting to defend their exclusive right to ports of entry, blocked taxi access roads in and out of the terminal and those cabbies caught dropping passengers off at the airport were forced to leave without collecting the fare. AENA information staff spent the day advising tourists to either catch the airport bus, which was running more frequently, or hire a car. Most foreign tourists quietly opted for one or the other, but it was Spanish passengers who failed to accept the situation. The first of the four hour stoppages started at 8am and by 10am, while taxi drivers were having breakfast in the airport's bars, there was already a massive gathering of people, waiting for a taxi and by mid day, when the first stoppage ended, the queue tailed back in to the terminal. During the morning protest no non-Palma taxis neared the airport, keeping confrontations to a minimum and the National Police were left to just monitor the situation. President of the PIMEM taxi association Gabriel Moragues hailed yesterday's protest as a huge success and said that 100 per cent of Palma's taxi fleet joined the industrial action. “People keep telling me we must continue,” he said yesterday afternoon. And it appears that until there is a solution Palma cabbies accept, the crippling protests will continue.

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