Taxi drivers triumph as fare reform postponed
16 January 2020 - globes
The reform was designed to make taxi fares more transparent.
The Israel taxi fare reform, which already went into effect at the beginning of this month, has been suspended. The new method, promoted by the Ministry of Transport, was designed to make calculation of fares more transparent and make trips within cities more expensive and trips between cities cheaper.
The taxi drivers, however, protested vigorously, arguing that the reform would have a severely negative impact on their livelihood, especially the new fare calculation method. As part of the protest measures, the drivers blocked roads. Some of them did not adjust their taxi meters as required, and, as reported by "Globes," exerted political pressure on Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon, Minister of Transport Bezalel Smotrich, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel the new fares.
The pressure initially focused on Smotrich, who stated that he had no intention of giving way. "I'm bringing order into a sector that everyone was afraid to deal with, like other sectors with power in the central committees of political parties, who terrorize politicians, he said, referring to the taxi drivers registering in the Likud party, so that their votes will be important in the Likud primaries.
Netanyahu entered the picture last week, issuing an urgent summons to the relevant ministers. Netanyahu, Smotrich, and Kahlon have now announced that they have signed an order extending the preparation period by two more months, "in order to facilitate continued dialogue with the taxi drivers' representatives and consider how the reform is to be implemented."