The taxi drivers allegedly damaged a large number of cars on the grounds of unfair competition. Photo: Rhodiak
A local arrest is the account so far after the fierce controversy unleashed in Pink on Thursday, between the taxi drivers and a transport project mediation company that works with the uber. According to a police statement, the man was identified for his participation in the acts of damages to a person linked to the company. The case against him includes the crimes of criminal organization, disturbance of public order, threat to commit a crime, dangerous bodily injury, damage to another’s property and threats.
“You can’t take the law into your own hands”
“The taxi drivers vandalized the Uber cars and beat the drivers. Three people were beaten, one with a broken leg,” a person familiar with the incidents of physical attacks and vehicle vandalism, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells “K.” According to testimonies in “K” as well as media reports premises, a crowd of people -approximately 700 drivers- moved towards the company’s headquarters in protest, some of them entered the premises causing damage worth many thousands of euros to at least 10 cars due to unfair competition. The intervention of the Public Ministry was not long in coming while the company filed a complaint.
According to information, the transport mediation company that works with Uber began its operation on Tuesday and according to the same person who asked to speak anonymously with ‘K’, “from the first moment there were incidents, thugs on the street, while the taxi drivers , they were stopping drivers illegally to check their details.”
“Taxi drivers cannot take the law into their own hands,” sources close to the company assure “K”, who in his ad speaks of a climate of terrorism reminiscent of practices in Mykonos.
“In the last 24 hours, unimaginable acts of threats, beatings, blackmail and sabotage have taken place on the island of Rhodes by an organized and guided group, catalyzing any concept of rule of law and legal economic activity,” the statement said. . “We will not tolerate illegal actions by third parties against the people and property of our company. We will not accept the climate of terrorism that they are trying to impose with their actions, which are reminiscent of those that took place on the island of Mykonos in March 2023.”
“We condemn the incident, but we will not allow them to take away our bread”
“It wasn’t some strangers, let’s be honest”, the president of the Rhodes Taxi Owners Association, Theodosis Kastanidis, tells “K”, for his part, commenting on the first reports that spoke of an “attack by strangers” and He maintains that there were no blows, only vandalism. “We will suffer the consequences, there is no problem,” he stresses. “We condemn the incident, but we will not allow them to take away our bread,” says Panagiotis Kontos, president of the Rhodes Taxi Drivers Association. “I can’t speak more about what happened because the police are investigating, but we are watching,” he adds.
Mr. Kontos claims that by looking at the mobile phone of a customer who had used the airport brokerage company, he discovered that the charge was less than the stipulated fee of €36, which constitutes unfair competition in the industry. “We are drivers who work for a living, we wait for the summer to work for three months,” he says.
“They work as predators,” Kastanidis insists. “We had the impression that they would come and collaborate with the taxis, but they charge minimal fares and steal from customers through the taxi rank,” he says, while maintaining that all the professionals on the island who are dedicated to transportation (buses tour buses, minivans, and rental cars with or without drivers) oppose the operation of this particular company. “Rhodes taxi drivers have been rewarded for the quality of their services,” he adds.
“By the 2018 legislation, the operation of transport intermediation companies was prohibited, but even after the modification of the law in 2019, such companies were not active in Greece,” said the president of the Federation of Transport Unions of Greece, Themistocles Amblas, reads ‘K’. According to Mr. Abla, the company in Rhodes is the first nationally to provide transportation services with Uber standards, charging lower fares to passengers.
“The federation is against the existence of this type of brokerage companies that are in conflict with what is established by the State and with the interests of the professional class of drivers who do not earn a living in any other way,” stressed the Mr. Ablas, adding that Passengers should “be careful” as drivers from brokerage companies do not have a professional driver’s license and do not meet the conditions under which taxi drivers work.
Regarding the questioning of the legality of its operation, the company, in the statement it issued, refers to “fake news”. “We categorically deny them and declare that: Our company is legally authorized and fully respects the institutional framework of its operation.”
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