Romania’s road carriers are asking for emergency decrees that should regulate their activity.
Romanian carriers continue protests on Thursday. For two days now, they have been protesting in front of the government headquarters in downtown Bucharest. Their discontent was sparked by two emergency decrees that should regulate passenger transportation, which the government promised but which got stuck in the awkward approval procedure.
On Wednesday, the area in front of the government building was occupied by members of the Federation of Romanian Transport Operators FORT, whose claims are related to transportation by minibuses and coaches at county and national levels. The present contracts will expire in June, and to be able to participate in the new tender, the transport companies need to have new minibuses and coaches. Their main claim is to get a cancellation of the provision. It seems that their protest has yielded the expected result, as the government officials promised to make the required legislative changes in the near future, most probably next week.
Even under the new circumstances, the other big trade union confederation in the field of transports, COTAR – the Trade Union Confederation of Certified Operators and Transporters in Romania, has not given up protests announced for Thursday. COTAR represents taxi drivers, who want the law regulating their activity to be amended. According to them, the current law does not provide for the punishment of taxi drivers who use mobile phone apps to provide transportation services to people against payment, but who do not own a license.
Under the current legislation, cab companies from Ilfov county, near Bucharest, are allowed to provide their services in Bucharest although they do not own licenses issued by the General City Hall. The taxi drivers’ protest also targets Uber and Taxify service providers, which are the main competitors to the classic cab companies, whose employees have frequently come under customers’ criticism for poor transport conditions or illegal negotiation of a ride cost.
The taxi drivers’ protest has seriously disrupted transportation both in Bucharest and on national roads. Protesters have warned that, unless their claims are met, the certified road passenger carriers will organize large-scale rallies in the coming period, on a weekly basis.
The subway trade unionists also have their claims. They announced they would picket for 2 days, on Thursday and Friday, for one hour, the headquarters of the Transport Ministry, blaming the authorities for their indifference to safety matters on certain carriages. The trade unionists recalled the incident that occurred early this year in a depot, when two carriages derailed, claiming that 13 of the 80 carriages owned by Metrorex might have the same problems. Transport minister Razvan Cuc expressed his conviction that subway trains are perfectly functional and claimed that the purpose of the trade unions’ actions was different, being related to the trading areas in the underground. These spaces have so far been managed by Metrorex trade unions, and from now on, they are going to be rented following a transparent tender procedure.