Paris taxi drivers dispute fixed fares

Paris cab drivers protest a new government plan recently announced to introduce flat rates from the airports into the city center.

Getting a cab from a Paris airport into the city is not the most pleasant experience. Cabbies have a notorious reputation for being crabby, and have the reputation of ripping off tourists by taking a longer way around, and rarely let passengers pay with anything but cash.

Sometimes the fares can be upwards of €80 depending on where in Paris you’re going and what time you travel.

However things are set to change due to new rules put forward by the government to enforce a flat rate from the airports into Paris that will replace the current fare system.

This means if you’re travelling from the Charles de Gaulle airport, you would pay approximately €55 to head anywhere on the Left Bank and €50 for anywhere on the Right Bank.

If you are traveling from Orly, it would be €30 for the Left Bank and €35 for the Right Bank.

This all sounds completely reasonable from a traveller’s point of view.

The government has said it’s plans are to make the transport option clearer for tourists, but also to maintain a competitive balance between the cabs and the private hired transport, known as VTCs like Uber, which are becoming increasingly popular and offers fixed fares.

Cab drives, meanwhile, are unimpressed with the proposed flat fares.

They say the rules are too vague, and do not account for the wide disparity in the length of distances between parts of Paris and the airports.

On average drivers say a trip between Orly and the Left Bank in Paris could cost less than €30 and private hire VTC cabs would undercut them.

The fixed prices would be in place whether passengers are travelling on public holidays or weekends, or even at rush hour.

The fixed price would be the same regardless of time, which means there’s no real incentive to work after hours. That could mean taxi drivers could choose to spend their nights sleeping, so good luck getting a cab if you land at the airport late at night.

Additionally setting a fixed price for the Left Bank and Right Bank seems arbitrary, when distances vary widely.

It may be hard to have sympathy for cabbies, whose strikes in protest at the competition of Uber have caused no end of travel chaos, it’s understandable to see why the drivers are unhappy.

To make matters worse, the news comes on the heels of a new cheap fare from competitive shuttle easyBus, which rolled out a services from Charles de Gaulle to Paris with tickets starting at €2 one way.

Photo by Error Tribune

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