New taxi permit restrictions in Marbella

8 May 2013

Marbella’s Town Council has approved the new taxi regulations for the area. The new approved regulations have drawn criticism from the political opposition groups, dividing the municipal corporation into two opposing groups. The main controversy seems to be the ratio used for granting new licenses. Up to now, the ratio was 2.5 taxis per 1000 inhabitants, but now it has been changed to 1.9 per 1000, which means that in fact, new permits won’t be issued by the town hall to those who qualify.

An opposing politician said that with this new ratio being implemented, it will take decades for new permits to be issued and that no permits have been issued in the town since 2011. It was also mentioned that the taxi industry must be protected and respected as a great service in a predominantly tourist town, like Marbella. Opposing politicians want to fight against problems that affect taxi drivers when performing their duties, such as intrusions.

Miguel Diaz, who is the current town councilor, calls for good dialogue amongst those involved in order to achieve consensus and solutions. He calls for more participation of representatives from the tourist and hotel industries, besides listening to taxi drivers’ needs. On the other hand, Díaz has criticized the lack of changes in the current ordinance that requires new cabs have a 1.900 cubic cm. engine when he thinks that more energy sustainable engines are feasible.

Furthermore, the Association of Taxi Drivers of Marbella and San Pedro de Alcántara oppose the decision reached by the new ordinance regarding ratio. According to those affected, the figure is set by population criteria, a factor not mandatory according to Andalusian Taxi Regulations Act. The chairman of the taxi association, José María Sánchez said that “a tourist town such as Marbella can’t be governed by such figures, much less during the slow tourist season.”

Thus, high tourist activity in Marbella would be affected, since transportation would be limited in months of high tourist activity, when many drivers are performing transfers to and from Malaga airport also. In this regard, workers feel adversely affected by the municipal decision to ensure that only favors current owners of taxi licenses and not those working for them and are waiting to get their own, being forced to work for others longer.