Four taxi-driver associations are combining their efforts today in staging protests against the regional government's bus services to certain tourist resorts that will start on 1 May. In their statement, the associations make clear their total opposition to the services, with the transport minister, Marc Pons, and the director-general for transport, Jaume Mateu, the particular targets for their anger.
The new bus services, say the drivers, will pose a direct threat to the taxi sector, which already has seen incomes drop drastically in the low season and which now faces a reduction in the high season.
They go on to say that the taxi sector does not understand why the government has decided to introduce the bus services when at present there are taxis as well as transfer services which ensure the movement of tourists between the airport and all parts of the island. The taxi sector suspects, therefore, that behind the government's plan is the tacit support of other business sectors, such as the hoteliers, who will see their profit margins increase, or rather, that their losses will be reduced because of the bus services.
There are two protests today. A march starts at 11.00 from the transport ministry in the calle de la Palma and goes via the calle Unió, Born, Antoni Maura, the Passeig Sagrera and finishes in front of the Consolat de la Mar, the headquarters of the presidency. A vehicle protest will gather from 10.00 at Son Moix and start around 11.15. It will go towards La Vileta, then work its way towards the centre via Pascual Ribot, Plaça Forti and Rafael Rodríguez Méndez, then Passeig Mallorca into Jaume III, along the Born and finally onto Passeig Sagrera and the Consolat de la Mar.
The protests are due to last until 13.30. Some 1,000 people are due to take part in the march, with 500 taxis being driven as well. Many of the drivers taking part are said to be coming into Palma from across the island. Parts of Palma may well be brought to a standstill, or at best a crawl.
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