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Taxi drivers jam autoroute

Protest highlights problems with chauffeur-driven tourist cars which cabbies say are taking their work

TAXI drivers in Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Nice plan to jam motorway traffic with a go-slow protest today and tomorrow against "too lax" rules on drivers of "voitures de tourisme avec chauffeur" which they claim are stealing their jobs.

They aim to spoil access to airports and railway stations to hit business travellers in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

Marseille airport says that if passengers are having problems they should look at using the 50 trains and 100 buses that go to the airport each day.

Chauffeured tourist vehicles were supposed to be "exclusively for high-end clients" the taxi-drivers said, but were instead to be found parked illegally on the public highway waiting to pick up custom outside night-clubs, shopping malls, hotels, stations and airports.

Paca president of the taxi-drivers' union Frédéric Guénou said such vehicles were not taxis and were not entitled to pick up passangers in this way.

Taxi drivers were losing 30% of their trade, he said, to companies such as Easy Take in the south-east, which has already been condemned in the appeal court at Nîmes. Easy Take was set up to take advantage of new rules modernising tourist services in 2009 but has since extended its activities into other areas.

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