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"London taxis" ruin Baku drivers06.09.2012 | 19:15
The reason of resentment of the drivers of so-called "London taxis" is connected to the taxi company management's decision to increase revenue. Driver, who come to the garage to return the earnings once a week, were informed that a mandatory amount of daily profit was increased from 21 to 36 manat. And this promises taxi drivers very hard days. Their salaries are low, and now they will have to give the authorities another 450 manat per month.
According to one of the drivers, earlier the amount of the daily revenue was higher, but prior to the "Eurovision-2012" the plan was reduced by half - from forty to twenty manats. That time, many cars were "laid up" because of the lack of drivers, but after this decision all cars were in use.
But luck was short. Initially, the drivers were obliged to buy fuel. "On average, we spend about 15 manat for fuel", another driver says. "In addition, after the "Eurovision" conditions of work are becoming harder and harder every day. We have to pay our money for washing the car. And most importantly - they do not pay our wages". According to the drivers, once a month they come to the garage and sign a statement, according to which they are paid a salary of 300 manat. More precisely, they should pay. But after the signing driver just leave. Why? "Because they don't let us to be a self-employed taxi-driver. A man, who has left a taxi company with a scandal, is unlikely to be able to get a license of a self-employed taxi-driver. And changing profession and finding another job also takes time and money. We have no other way", the driver says.
"Rise of the daily earnings even by several times is the sovereign right of any company", the expert Soltan Agayev says. But no company will do this with a normal competition. "Self-employed taxi-driver got such problems about a year ago", Agayev says. That's when the company under the name "London taxi" started operating. This led to panic in the private taxi market. The reason was that the company's patron of was ZQAN Holding, led by the son of the Minister of Transport of Azerbaijan. It was clear that the administrative resource would affect this segment. Results do not have to wait long. Other companies involved in private taxi business have suffered significant financial losses.
Private cabmen's business is even worse. Immediately after emergence of the "London taxi", a campaign to identify the drivers engaged in illegal private taxi business was started. This campaign was accompanied by "fisticuffs". On this basis, there have been held several chaotic unsuccessful protest actions. Many private drivers were forced out of business. Some of them went to work in the "London taxi". But as we can see, to put it mildly, the situation is not ideal.
Recently Baku prohibited engaging in private taxi business using the cars of Soviet and Russian production, which has further aggravated the situation around private cabmen. This was explained by the fact that these cars were not comfortable and did not meet current safety standards. In the near future license for private cabbing will be issued only if you have a foreign white car, meeting the above requirements. In this case, it will not be so easy to get a long-license for private cabbing. The understanding of the situation compels drivers of "London taxi" to fight for their rights.
Disgruntled taxi drivers have already held a protest rally in front of the Ministry of Transport. The rally was attended by about 100 drivers. The drivers also protested against the ban on the use of Russian-made cars. But now the drivers are continuing carrying passengers and discussing the current situation together. Part of them is already looking for alternative work. Another part is going to fight to the end and prove everyone that the bureaucratic chaos can be stopped.