Spain through the looking glass

Taken for a ride

with one comment

One of the most depressing stories I’ve come across since my return to Seville – and there have been a few – involves the city’s notorious gremio del taxi, or taxi union.

Seville’s taxi drivers often make cameo appearances in the media here, and almost never for the right reasons. Yesterday, for example, the local Diario de Sevilla newspaper reported that two taxis have been set alight in Seville in the last fortnight – apparently as part of ongoing turf war between factions of the taxi union over pre-arranged pick-ups at the city’s airport and main train station.

But the story I’m referring is of a darker hue. For years, the company that operates Seville’s city urban lines, Tussam, has ran a cheap and efficient service out to the airport. It departs every half an hour from near the city centre and a single ticket for the 10-kilometre trip sets you back a very reasonable €2.40.

I’m very happy with this arrangement: I’ve always considered the presence of a cheap public transport link to an airport as one of the hallmarks of a civilised city. It appears, though, that some of Seville’s taxi drivers are of a different philosophical bent. Because apparently – as Tussam management chose to phrase it – ‘certain taxi drivers’ have been threatening the drivers of their airport buses for months.

These threats have taken the form of blows to the side of Tussam’s buses when their timetabled departure time swings around. The taxi drivers then yell at the bus drivers to get a move on, even if there are people still trying to board the bus.

The idea, of course, is to leave those waiting passengers stranded and with no option but to fork out for a taxi.

Journalists from the Diario de Sevilla recently went out to the airport (presumably not by taxi) to get a feel for the situation on the ground and discovered that, while things were a little calmer, Tussam’s employees at San Pablo Airport remained on edge. A ticket seller serving the waiting passengers had chosen not to wear company identification and was keeping his head down.

Unfortunately there is no happy ending here. In response to this intimidation from what may only be a handful of sinvergüenzas, or scoundrels, Tussam have upped their one-way airport fares to €4. That’s a rise of around 160 per cent. Meanwhile, the taxis will continue to charge their minimum €21.89. Those ‘certain taxi drivers’ ought to be crippled with shame right about now.


Written by georgemills25

October 25, 2012 at 11:19

Posted in bullying, mafia, seville, transport

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. I was living in Sevilla for 4 months earlier this year, and I am so sad this is happening! I was so appreciative of the aerobus fare being only €2.40… I remember picking up on the negative vibes the taxi drivers gave while they waited near the airport and Santa Justa. I suppose the taxistas have to feed their families, so maybe their actions, though inexcusable, are a reflection of the times? :/


    November 20, 2012 at 16:16

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