Less taxis for the capital

THE GOVERNMENT wants to cut the number of days taxis can operate in Lisbon in a bid to reduce pollution.

From 2008, taxi drivers will only be allowed to work a maximum of six days a week rather than seven.

According to the Portuguese daily newspaper, Diário de Notícias, the government measure is purely an environmental one, aimed at reducing the amount of pollutants and so help to improve the country’s results presented to the Kyoto Protocol.

The Associação Nacional dos Transportadores Rodoviários em Automóveis Ligeiros (ANTRAL), the national association of light vehicle and road transport carriers, stated that it was firmly against the measure.

“The government cannot force people not to work, in fact, it should be encouraging people to do the opposite,” said ANTRAL President, Florêncio de Almeida, who added that if more people took taxis rather than their cars, traffic congestion and pollution alone would be cut.

“Taxis don’t even produce a 10th of the pollution that all other drivers produce in greater Lisbon, the government needs to be limiting the entry of cars into Lisbon and increasing taxis and improving public transport,” he added.

ANTRAL says that so far its complaints have fallen on deaf ears and that it has yet to be given the opportunity to officially put its arguments forward to the Ministry of Transport, but if it is not heard it will carry out a series of demonstrations.

Almeida said that reducing the number of taxis in the city would result in longer queues at taxi ranks and more people opting to use their own cars.

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