In Neiva, the union pointed out that crime and informality, added to the costs of fuel and vehicle maintenance, have them on the brink of declaring a permanent assembly. The national strike would take place on August 9.
Huíla Newspaper, neiva
By: Gloria Camargo
Taxi drivers from all over the country announced that they will carry out a new day of strike, after not reaching agreements with the National Government in relation to the constant increases in fuel prices.
This decision was made after an unsuccessful meeting with the Minister of Transportation, William Camargo, held in Manizales, where the taxi drivers expressed their concern about the lack of concrete solutions to the problems that affect their sector.
In the capital of the department of Huila, the president of the Association of Owner-Drivers of Neiva, Asoprocontax, Oscar Fernando Tapia, reported that the region has declared a Permanent Assembly as part of the Negotiation Committee with the National Government. Tapia stressed that, despite being in the process of finalizing the details, it is very likely that the strike scheduled for August 9 will take place.
Tapia pointed out that the government has shown interest in addressing the issue through the implementation of a dynamic rate or the pico y placa system, however, they consider that these measures do not solve the underlying problem faced by taxi drivers.
The decision to carry out a nationwide strike reflects the growing frustration of taxi drivers at the lack of response from the Government, who consider that the rises in fuel prices are seriously impacting their income and affecting their ability to cover the operating expenses of their vehicles, which has generated a significant loss of profitability.
Oscar Fernando Tapia, president of the Neiva Owner Drivers Association, Asoprocontax.
Illegality and costs
According to Oscar Fernando Tapia, president of Asoprocontax, for Neiva there are two underlying issues that must be addressed: illegality and the cost of fuel. During a meeting last week with the Government, emphasis was placed on the need to solve the problem of illegality, since by solving it, more resources would be available to deal with the price of gasoline.
Tapia also mentioned that fuel prices have increased exorbitantly, which directly affects taxi drivers and owners, who are forced to allocate between 10,000 and 25,000 additional pesos for fuel and, as a result, see their income reduced .
The president stressed that it is not fair for the government to suggest increasing rates to transfer this additional cost to users. Recognizing the cost of the family basket at the national level, he considers that imposing this burden on citizens would be inviting them to seek illegal means of transportation.
In this context, Tapia stated that Neiva is among the cities that will participate in the strike scheduled for August 9. However, he clarified that the permanent assembly is discussing whether the strike will be indefinite or will only take place on that particular day. The final decision will be made based on the considerations and needs of the taxi drivers in the region.
Neiva’s participation in the strike will depend on the discussions and decisions made in the permanent assembly. Taxi drivers will carefully assess whether the protest measure will only be for one day or if it needs to be prolonged indefinitely to achieve an effective response from the Government and address the fundamental concerns they face in their daily work.
In Neiva, taxi drivers assure that there are places where they are banned from racing, due to insecurity.
security in check
Tapia mentioned that insecurity is a latent problem throughout the city of Neiva. In this regard, he highlighted that a meeting was recently held with the Commander of the Metropolitan Police, where these issues were addressed and specific concerns were expressed, such as the lack of police presence on the streets during night hours.
Among the most serious complaints, it was highlighted that there are areas that taxi drivers cannot enter due to the high risk of physical assault or being robbed, resulting in the loss of their earnings or even their vehicles. The areas of the extreme north, extreme south and southeast of the urban area of Neiva were identified as the most dangerous for drivers.
Even in neighborhoods considered traditional, cases of robberies of drivers and passengers have been reported. Neighborhoods such as La Rioja and El Altico have been scenarios where vehicles with passengers have been intercepted by criminals on motorcycles, who rob both the passengers and the driver.
The lack of security has become a worrying factor and a constant threat for taxi drivers in Neiva. The situation exposed by Tapia highlights the need for an urgent response from the competent authorities to address and solve security problems in the city.
‘warm water’ wipes
The Minister of Transportation, William Camargo, has announced that various measures are being evaluated that could be included in a decree to update taxi fares in the country, in response to the announcement of the taxi drivers’ strike.
According to the minister, this measure is being considered due to inflation and the constant changes in fuel prices, which are updated more frequently than taxi fares.
The minister pointed out that the annual change in taxi fares always lags behind the operating costs of the service. Therefore, he believes that the rates for this type of transport should be updated more frequently to maintain the profitability of taxi drivers and owners.
In addition, the possibility is being evaluated that the regional authorities are in charge of deciding how often and in what percentage taxi fares should be updated, since this could depend on the cost and demand for the service in each city or municipality. .
The national strike of taxi drivers is scheduled for this August 9, although it has not yet been defined if it will be only for one day or permanent.
Another option that is being considered is the adoption of the dynamic rate system used by other transport services through applications. With this adjustment, the cost of a taxi trip would also depend on the time and the number of users requesting the service at that time, which would allow greater flexibility in prices and better adaptation to demand.
According to the Minister of Transportation, William Camargo, an increase in the taxi fares charged to users is being evaluated.