There are now over 4,200 licenced taxis in Amsterdam after ‘explosive growth’ in the first six months of this year, the local daily Het Parool wrote on Friday. In the first six months of 2015, 76 people started up as taxi drivers, but in the same period this year there were 382 newcomers to the market, the paper said. Established firms have been calling for a limit on taxi numbers because of the grave impact on earnings. ‘Drivers are barely making ends meet,’ said Bas Vos, of umbrella group Amsterdams Platform Kwaliteitstaxi (APK). ‘Most are happy if they cover their costs. We are talking minimum wage level and below.’ The platform was set up several years ago following a surge in complaints about taxi drivers in the capital. Earlier this year, Deutsche Bank said an eight kilometre taxi fare in Amsterdam costs around €24, which is cheaper only than Zurich, Stockholm and Tokyo. The city council says the issue is one for the national government and that there is little it can do to limit taxi numbers. The Dutch taxi market was liberalised in 2000, when the permit system was abandoned and anyone was able to set up a taxi service.
Amsterdam has a system where the taxi operators have to group themselves into self-governing and self-disciplining taxi units, according to the New Zealand example of Approved Taxi Organisation (ATO – in Dutch TTO). Earlier this week the local regulator banned the MyTaxi TTO from using the main taxi rank at the Leidseplein for several weekends in October. After two years’ of threats this is the first punishment actually handed out, apparently for MyTaxi-drivers insulting and ignoring the instructions of traffic cops.
- Amsterdam taxi numbers surge.