Taxis in Paris

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The top of a taxi is seen in downtown Paris January 29, 2008. Taxi drivers will stage on Wednesday a protest in the centres of France’s major cities. The National Taxi Owners Federation is fighting against a scheme to solve the country’s chronic shortage of taxis by the abolition of tight quotas and the authorisation of minicabs. REUTERS/Charles Platiau (FRANCE)

Can’t think of an industry that does less to please its clients than Parisian taxis. The list of challenges is long: bad attitudes, no responsibility (central authority metes out no punishment), cost, unavailability… The thing that got me so riled up this morning was the behavior of a taxi driver that I flagged down. He pulled over, but by the time I had walked over (10 meters), he waved me off saying that he was now “taken.” His “busy” light was indeed now on… and he just sat there without looking at me again. What happened is certainly nothing new in Paris. But the notion roiled me that he was just sitting there racking up a bill for some unknowing customer who had called in a reservation. He was just happy to avoid taking a random pickup (part of the job I say). And it galls me to see the large number of “busy” taxis you can find driving round and round the block, waiting for a pickup so that the meter reads the maximum amount allowable (if they follow the law that is). I am very much in favor of liberalizing the taxi business in France: buy back all the medallions and allow a free market approach (lower unemployment, greater competition… all those good things!). That said, they are doing their job of obliging people to take public transportation. Good for reducing pollution, although not all the stress. We still have metro lines that employ drivers that can still go on strike…

REUTERS/Charles Platiau (FRANCE)
FlickrTaxi Parisien
Author: jean pierre gallot

2 Comments, RSS

  1. Anonymous

    Paris has been for a decade elected the best city in Europe for tourism. Since 2006 it lost this title for London. One of the reason given for this down-grade was the politness and service of its inhabitants. I live in London and was very proud of my parisian background. I often heard and aknoledged the fact that service in Paris was not good BUT the fact that it reached the international recognition of bad behaviour is too much. Parisians need to do something about it!!!

  2. Anonymous

    On refuse de vous prendre en charge, on vous impose la climatisation à fond, le compteur affiche déjà 10 euros lorsque vous montez dans la voiture commandée la veille… Les témoignages de soucis de ce type ne manque pas. Il est temps de lister ce que l’on peut faire et ne pas faire lorsqu’on est client. Et de rappeler quels sont nos recours…

    FNAT : Fédération nationale des artisans taxis,
    46 rue Armand Carrel
    75927 Paris cedex 19
    Téléphone : 01 44 52 23 50
    E-mail :

    Tournage avec les Boers, la police des taxis.

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