Riga City Council is unable to sort out the taxi industry, especially in Old Riga, as noted by Baltic Taxi consultant Janis Naglis. He believes the city council has failed to fulfil its promise to sort things out. He asks: «What has the city council done with the EUR 200,000 allocated to uphold its promise?»
«Yet another attack on a Baltic Taxi driver was carried out at night on 30 January in Old Riga. Drivers from a competitor taxi company behaved aggressively towards him. Such an occurrence is typical for the capital. In this case, however, it is worth mentioning one specific factor – this incident is proof of Riga City Council’s inability to sort of the taxi serve industry in the city and Old Riga,» – Naglis added.
The city council’s associated rules to govern taxi licensing order came into force last year. These rules state restrictions for entry into Old Riga. In addition, Riga City Council also instituted an annual fee for carriers worth EUR 300.
According to Naglis, in spite of the city council’s promises to liquidate banditry in the industry and revoke licences from dishonest service providers, not a single fine was applied last year and not a single license was revoked. The amount that was collected from entry fees from taxi service providers is EUR 200,000.
He added that in 2016 Baltic Taxi suffered six cars being set on fire, thirty five tires being ruptured, and the amount of money paid to Riga’s budget for entering Old Riga was EUR 48,000.
«Cases of intimidation appear more and more often. All of it points to a catastrophic situation in Old Riga. Our clients suffer from this as well. What has Riga City Council done with EUR 200,000 to fulfil its promise? I would like to remind everyone that after attacks on five taxi drivers the city council promised to then the Education Minister Vyacheslav Dombrovskis to sort out the industry and institute fines along with termination of licenses for violations. We’ve yet to hear of a single real violation that was followed up by a fine or license termination last year. Old Riga is not boundless territory – if municipal police are unable to control 200 taxis, what kind of progress can we expect?» – Naglis asks.
At the same time, he added that the state has failed to fulfil its promises to sort out the industry and taxi licensing procedures. The introduced EUR 130 social advance payment in addition to the city council’s license only makes taxi services more expensive for residents. It does not provide any tools to have others start paying taxes.
As previously reported, Riga Municipal Police have launched an administrative case for small hooliganism incident involving two taxi drivers. Allegedly, the two came to blows over a public parking spot.
BNN found out that one of the taxi drivers had parked his car on a parking space reserved for taxis. The other taxi driver came over, saying that he paid for the parking place and that it belonged to him. When asked where and to whom he paid money to own a public parking spot, the taxi driver said nothing, but added that soon people would come to ‘explain how things work’.
After exchanging harsh words, the two started to fight. After police arrived at the scene and pulled the two angry men apart from each other, both blamed the other for the fight.