Not only taxi drivers have been complaining for months about the rising number of illegal taxi drivers in Amsterdam, but now local media have discovered the problem too. The number of illegal taxi drivers in Amsterdam, has increased greatly over the last year. There should be at least 700 illegal taxi drivers. Inspections only help sporadically, confirms ILT, the service which checks the Dutch taxi trade nationally.
That service, responsible for all checks on illegal taxis, recently confirmed to local newspaper Parool that it appears the number of illegal taxis in Amsterdam has increased sharply in recent months. No wonder. The increase is probably due in part to the fact that at Schiphol Airport, police actions against illegal drivers have been increased. Most illegal drivers working at the airport diverted to the city, in what local specialists call the ‘waterbed effect.’
The illegal drivers put more pressure on the already pressurised city taxi market. The nearly 6.000 regular drivers have been complaining about the strict rules for taxis and the unbridled influx of taxi drivers from elsewhere to Amsterdam. According to them, because of the arrival of the illegal drivers, it’s difficult to earn a living.
Bas Vos of the Amsterdam Taxi Quality Platform (APK) claims that these are mainly drivers who do not get enough work at Uber and set up shop around the official taxi ranks. And that situation is getting out of hand. Vos: “Many nights there are many dozens of men who offer illegal trips around the Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein areas.” These are main entertainment areas in Amsterdam.
The illegal drivers are quite well organized: they all work in app groups which warn each other for ILT and local inspectors, which, according to the illegal drivers, are easily recognizable. As a result, tackling these illegal drivers is a very difficult process: as soon as the inspectors show up, the illegal drivers melt away. ILT checks on illegal drivers in Amsterdam about ten times a year. The ILT has insufficient manpower for more inspections. According to the illegal drivers (in the local media) the checks don’t frighten them and hardly make an impression on the local taxi market.
- Competition from illegal taxis further depresses the regular Amsterdam taxi market.