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More tourists hit by taxi strike

- by Archimedes

More tourists hit by Greek taxi strike.

Tourists in Crete and Corfu have had their holiday plans disrupted as the Greek taxi cab drivers continue their blockades and strikes. Taxi drivers parked cabs on roads leading to ports and airports on the popular Greek holiday islands of Crete and Corfu in protest at plans to deregulate the taxi industry.

Crete tourists said hundreds of cabs blocked access roads and package holiday passengers were forced to carry suitcases 500m to waiting holiday buses.

It was a similar situation in Corfu when roads to ports and airports were impassable as roads were blocked by taxis.

The taxi driver protest earlier this week was expected to last just 48 hours and hit mainland ports and airports at Athens and Thessaloniki but it has now lengthened to four days and spread to the Greek islands. No solution is yet in sight.

The government wants to bring in measures in July aimed at tackling 'closed shop' industries such as taxi operators. They want to slash the cost of licenses and to streamline applications.

Greek taxi drivers complain that expensive licenses that were once passed on down through the family are now virtually worthless.

They also fear a large rise in the numbers of taxis on the roads, making it harder to find enough fares to make a living.

The Greek taxi drivers vow to continue with strikes and blockades unless the new regulations are scrapped. The taxi industry is one of 135 'closed shop' professions targeted by the government in order to meet strict EU and IMF conditions for financial bailouts.