Italy’s antitrust authority (AGCM) has launched a probe into the country’s taxi services amid reports of a severe taxi shortage in major cities. AGCM acting on several ‘critical issues’ arising in Rome, Milan, and Naples, said in a statement, “We are gathering information to protect the market and consumers.”
According to Reuters, the authority also called for information on parameters such as the current number of licenses and cars, from both taxi companies and the municipalities of the three cities in question. Reports have been emerging for months about the failure to increase the number of taxi licenses in order to meet the surging demand. Antonio Longo, a Rome resident, reflects on the situation saying, “It is really difficult to get a taxi anywhere in Rome. I think it’s about time that something is done.”
Taxi drivers have been a powerful and influential lobbying force in Italy for some time. Their aggressive strikes and resistance to efforts aimed at increasing competition, including Uber operations, have resulted in customer safety risks. However, Il Messaggero newspaper reports that industry and transport bishops were due to meet in Rome on Tuesday with industry representatives to discuss a plan to increase the number of taxi licenses.
The AGCM added, “We need to make sure that the service provided to customers is safe, efficient and of good quality. We can only achieve this objective by making sure competition in the sector works as it should.” It remains to be seen what initiatives the AGCM will take, and what the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting will be. However what is clear is that taxi services in Italy must change in order to protect both the market and the consumers.
Source: Finance Yahoo