New taxi rates in effect

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New taxi rates came into effect throughout the country on Friday.

1 February 2008

AMSTERDAM – New taxi rates came into effect throughout the country on Friday. Virtually all taxes are charging the maximum rates, so there is no sign that the measure will lead to competition on price, as it was hoped.

This emerged on Friday during a survey of the most important taxi ranks in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Customers now pay a base charge of EUR 7.50 maximum, which includes travel for the first two kilometres. The maximum price per subsequent kilometre is EUR 2.20.

In practice this means that a taxi fare in the city centre should never cost more than EUR 7.50, regardless of delays due to traffic or lights. Under the previous rate system, the metre continued to run while the taxi was at a standstill in traffic or at a light.

As a result the fares during rush hour in city centres were higher than in the new fare system. Taxi experts predict that the lower income for short trips will prompt drivers to stay off the roads during the busiest hours of the day, leading to a decrease in supply.

There was little to be seen of this on Friday morning. The situation at the taxi rank at Amsterdam Central Station was like any other workday morning. Though taxi businesses are free to charge lower rates, none has opted to do so.

The drivers say they are not happy with the new fare system. "They say that they are deregulating the taxi market, but now you cannot set your own rates," says one.

The drivers complain that the new price means they have to have a lot of change on hand. "Because people are stingy, they only want to pay that set amount."

Drivers who do not stick to the new regulations risk hefty fines. The transport inspectorate has already announced that inspectors will be checking for compliance with the new rules in the coming months. Drivers who have not adapted their metres to the new fare system risk a fine of EUR 440.

Industry organisation KNV Taxi does not expect that too many fines will be issued. "Most taxi companies changed over to the new fare system over the past few months. The companies in the big cities waited till the last moment. Enforcement is very important at this point."

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]

Subject: Dutch news

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