Transport For Members

Italy’s taxi drivers plan ‘biggest ever’ strike over planned industry reform

Giampietro Vianello
Giampietro Vianello - [email protected]
Italy’s taxi drivers plan ‘biggest ever’ strike over planned industry reform
Taxi drivers pictured during a protest in Rome in January 2012. Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

Taxi drivers were set to stage a nationwide walkout on Tuesday, May 21st, after talks stalled over a reform aimed at reducing long-standing cab shortages.


Taxi drivers' unions announced the 14-hour strike in a statement on Wednesday after talks with Business Minister Adolfo Urso over a contested reform of the cab sector reached a dead end.

"In the absence of any updates, [this] may turn out to be one of the biggest protests ever staged by our sector,” the statement said.

Drivers and their families’ futures were “at stake”, it added.

Taxi unions said Urso had failed to give them the necessary assurances over a series of changes drafted by Deputy PM Matteo Salvini in early April, with drivers’ representatives expressing concern over the proposed issuance of new taxi licences and the creation of ride-hailing digital platforms.

The reform was reportedly intended as part of a wider government plan to boost public transport services around the country ahead of the 2025 Jubilee Year, when Rome alone is expected to welcome some 35 million visitors. 

But Italian taxi drivers have long opposed attempts to both increase the number of available licences and open up the market to popular ride-hailing services like Uber, whose standard service (also known as Uber Pop) is currently not allowed to operate in Italy. 

READ ALSO: Italy's taxis are often a nightmare, but will things ever change?

Last October, taxi drivers staged a 24-hour strike in protest against the government's approval of a decree allowing local authorities to issue new taxi licences – a move intended to ease longstanding cab shortages in some of the country’s largest metropolitan areas.

Italy's major cities have a far lower number of taxis – and taxi licences – available compared to metropolises like London and Paris, with visitors frequently reporting difficulties with finding a ride, as well as long waiting times.


According to a recent report from Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, Rome, which hasn’t increased the number of local taxi licences since 2005, has well over one million 'unresolved calls' – that is, people who try and fail to book a cab ride – a month during peak tourist season.

Milan, which hasn’t issued any new licences since 2003, has around half a million unresolved calls per month.


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Andrew F 2024/05/10 15:28
They could strike for a year and it would not effect me since I stopped using them. I consider myself a seasoned traveler and I speak up when I see the taxi scams but most drivers don't care. I have had some real nice drivers and I feel sorry for them since they are being disparaged by the majority.

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