“I would like a taxi to take me from Puerto del Carmen at 6pm and then bring me back at 9pm, please”.
This, as are many other similar requests, is impossible under the current regime, which jealously guards municipal boundaries within Lanzarote, and elsewhere in Spain. What are the results of this parochial approach to the taxi system here?
- Significant levels of empty running for drivers who take customers across municipal boundaries. Empty running is hardly compatible with improving the environment as well as wasting time;
- Failure to respond to demand across the island. The report on “movilidad sostenible” reported waiting times of up to 40 minutes on Thursdays at Arrecife airport;
- A service which is not customer-friendly. For cross-boundary journeys, it is necessary to make two calls to book a return trip, and
- Reduced driver earnings, as empty running and queuing for customers does not generate any earnings for taxi drivers.
A higher quality and more efficient taxi system could be developed very quickly if these artificial boundaries were removed. There would be one system, one telephone number (or even two or three, to cater for foreign tourists) and one website. Other benefits include:
- Reduced waiting times during periods of high demand, such as with the airport example above. Hours of peak demand in Puerto del Carmen, for example, will be different from those in Arrecife;
- Increased demand resulting from service improvements;
- Prices could probably be increased a little, as people will generally pay more for a higher quality service; and
- Overall, higher income for taxi drivers, whose rates have not increased in four years.