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Chamber presses point on ‘poor’ taxi service

The Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce has thanked the Gibraltar Taxi Association for its offer a first-hand look at the problems faced by taxi drivers, but said it ‘misses the point’.

Although the Chamber said it was “grateful” for the offer of spending a day with the taxi drivers, it said the central point is the “lack of availability” and the “inconsistent and poor reliability” of the City Taxi Service.

In a statement the Chamber conceded that, at certain times, there is traffic congestion or delays when the runway barrier is down.

But, it said, the “numerous” complaints it has received over many years and most recently are not about this.

According to the Chamber they are about lack of availability of the City Taxi Service when it is needed at various points around Gibraltar whether at the frontier, at the airport or in town.

“There are either no taxis at the ranks or they are often not available when a taxi is ordered by ‘phone, at whatever time of the day or night.”

The Chamber said this is “unacceptable” to a jurisdiction promoting itself as a modern city which seeks to attract business and tourism from around the world.

“First impressions count and the first impression to many of our visitors is a third rate taxi service.”

It added that the GTA assured the public three years ago that the £300,000 of taxpayer’s money being loaned to it to install new meters in each taxi would ensure that taxis could be despatched efficiently around Gibraltar for the new City Service.

“This, they said at the time, would resolve the issue about availability of the City Service,” the Chamber said.

According the Chamber, the government said at the time that the new system would be reviewed after three months to see if further changes were necessary.

“The GTA got the money, they got the new meters, but the public did not get the service.”

The number of visitors to Gibraltar, both tourists and businesspeople, has increased enormously since the frontier re-opened fully in 1985.

In contrast, the number of taxi licences has remained virtually static since the frontier re-opened, it said.

“The fact remains that despite repeated assurances over the years by the GTA that the City Service would improve, to date, the City Taxi Service is not working.”

The Chamber further added that it was “heartened” that the GTA agrees with the Chamber’s comments on the poor state of the City Taxi Service when interviewed by GBC.

“Recognition of the situation is the first step in trying to resolve it,” the Chamber stated.

“The public recognises it, even the GTA recognises it. Proper reliable alternatives must now be considered.”

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