A driver from the Alicante town of Rojales has been issued with a 4,001 euro fine, and had his minibus seized and immobilised by the police, after a complaint that the vehicle was being used conducting the unauthorised and illegal carriage of passengers in exchange for money or goods, in other words, as a pirate taxi.
The driver has been fined for not holding a taxi licence, or a contract of work, amongst other offences, following a complaint from legal and registered taxi drivers over intrusions from the private sector which are not only damaging their income, but are also putting the lives of other road users at severe risk.
The complaint arose after a legal taxi was booked to carry out a journey from Alicante-Elche airport to the Rojales area. Two days later, the booking was cancelled, which led the official taxi driver to become suspicious. Calculating the approximate arrival of the family at the residency, the taxi driver decided to carry out surveillance on the home and await the potential arrival of his cancelled fare.
The surveillance paid off as the taxi driver witnessed a vehicle approach the property, displaying images of a suspected fake transport company owned by a private individual.
As a result of the report, the local police requested to see the documentation relating to the vehicle and the company, discovering that the vehicle was not a licenced taxi, nor does the driver have a work contract of any form, or a rental contract for the property he allegedly claimed to be renting to the passengers he was transporting.
Pursuant to Article 10.1 of the Reglamento de la Ley de Ordenación de los Transportes (ROTT), the vehicle was immobilised and transported by a tow truck to be made available to the Ministry of Transport until the owner of the vehicle can fully present the required documentation.
You don´t have to be so blatant as to pretend to pass off as a legal transport vehicle to fall foul of the law. Just doing an “airport run” in exchange for money, even if it´s just for petrol, still constitutes operating as a pirate taxi.
Legal taxis have to undergo more stringent vehicle testing than normal cars, and the drivers have to be licenced and approved and are monitored for consistency in service delivery, all of which requires them to pay a substantial fee to hold the rights to carry passengers for money.
The collaboration of the police and the taxi drivers is helping to fight against this intrusion in the sector. With the implementation of the new law that immobilises vehicles, something which until now was not possible, allows the police to ensure that all relevant safety and documentation compliances are in place before the vehicle is permitted back on the road.