Budapest taxi drivers stage demo for better working conditions
Over 1,000 taxi drivers representing all Budapest taxi companies held a demonstration on Monday afternoon, demanding better working conditions and more rights.
The demands of taxi drivers included setting a fixed tariff for all companies and new technical requirements for incoming taxis only, as well as limiting the current number of 6,000 taxis in circulation.
The kilometre-long convoy of honking vehicles slowed down traffic in the city centre for hours. The rally proceeded from Heroes Square along Andrassy Avenue to cross the Octogon junction and reach City Hall. From here it crossed Chain Bridge to the Buda side and then returned to Heroes Square after crossing Margaret Bridge.
Unions that organised the strike told MTI last week that the municipal council of Budapest had not as yet sent the unions a copy of the decree, but leaked information suggested that all professional considerations had been omitted from the planned regulations.
Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos earlier said that the legislation on taxi services had been an unresolved issue for ten years and added that negotiations would continue with the unions
Assessing the demonstration to MTI, Zoltan Metal, the head of the National Taxi Alliance (OTSZ), told MTI that the demonstration had been "successful, expedient and orderly," generating support from the public.
He said OTSZ wanted to hold negotiations with the municipality in a bid to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
David Vitezy, the head of the Budapest Transport Centre BKK, told MTI on Monday that the municipality and BKK had already held several rounds of talks with the taxi drivers’ unions in the past six months, last time just this past Friday. He said that the unions’ demands were also taken into account during the drafting of the new regulations. He said they were ready to hold further talks before the decree’s debate in the Municipal Assembly on June 20.
Last Monday, 200 taxi drivers already held a demo in central Budapest with the same demands.