a year ago, on January 26, 2016, the anger of the taxi drivers paralyzed the greater paris area. From Orly to Roissy, paris-Bercy at porte Maillot, they said the ras the bowl of a profession. A year later, despite a new law, nothing has really changed. Reporting to Roissy, in the heart of the rear of taxis.
This is not a parking lot like any other. Rather, “a huge city parking lot” open to the sky, asked rue Eugène Poubelle, at the foot of the slopes of Roissy airport, near the terminal 3. The rear base taxi (BAT) is the place to wait for drivers before being allowed to earn a terminal to board a passenger. Called Guantanamo as it is screened, controlled, and managed in a way that quasi-military, it was established in 2009 to streamline the servicing of the airport and account not less than thirty-three lines of thirty cars each.
This morning, when Jimmy, the driver of behind thai rushes in the parking lot, the wind is cold. A bright, bright red gives the of the day: 3: 18 pm. Its waiting time before leaving the base.
“The taxi, it is death. Look there are over 1000 cars in front of me, there are more drivers and less work,” he says. Jimmy works 10 hours per day, 6 and a half days on 7. It “was” 10 customers per day, it does more than 5 and earns between 1000 to 1200 euros per month. For him, of course, “the VTC is in question,” but, he insists, “the truth is that since the terrorist attacks, tourists shun the France, especially the asians, the japanese and the chinese. As they are less numerous in the planes, they are logically less numerous in our taxis. It is for that that we also expect a long time behind such barriers and that the business is doing so poorly”.
Guantanamo, the school of patience
Why, faced with this shortage of clients not to go to work in the streets of the capital, where the parisians, rant sometimes about the difficulties to find a vehicle? “It’s simple, slice, Francesco, driver of origin of Portuguese here, despite the wait, it is a race that provided for 50 euros, maybe two if it returns in the late afternoon. In Paris, parked at a terminal, I can wait two hours for a small race to 10 euros. The VTC make the marauding electronics in the vicinity of the stations, the Defence or close to the department stores. All of a sudden the clients of the capital escape us, especially the managers in the morning and the young people return in the evening. They have all of the applications such as Uber or Heetch.” Pressure, crushed by the technological innovation, the profession loses the foot.
Yahia Culdouali is las also. “Even at Roissy, where the law prohibits the VTC to take courses without reservation, the conurrence is terrible,” he observes. The VTC was organized. They are smart, have touts in the airport. As soon as they have a customer, they call a driver, the race is actually reserved, the law is circumvented, but the tour is played. During this time, docile, we have patience three hours on this car park”. And, the drivers are furious in front of this absurd situation.
A town in the city where we remade the world
in order To deceive the boredom, the city is organized: tables of ping-pong, chess games, weight rooms open-air, restaurants and prayer mats. Washer on the street with jugs of water brinquebalant on carts of fortune offering their services. A vietnamese has transformed an embankment and cultivates a vegetable garden with tomato plants, grape vines, parsley and aromatic plants. The communities remain very welded together and mix quite a few.
Guantanamo, it is the graveyard of illusions. A concentrate of frustration, of anger with respect to the policies and helplessness. A dead-end. During the interminable wait, people are talking crudely. The scapegoat has a name: Uber, the american company and its drivers VTC to the black limousines that criss-cross the capital.
Manual, little man vibrionnant, big mustache, and cap glued on the head, bus driver, since 1981 dream purely and simply to eliminate Uber. “The government must put out this box american who does nothing”. For him, the VTC, what are the “VCT, robbers of taxi rides”…
Manual “was,” he says, his day, 5 or 6 hours, he must be 11 now and while he saw 17 years ago, 2000 francs ( 300 euros per day), today it arrivere barely touch 100 euros”.
Not a driver for Uber on the horizon, but tempers flare. And, the shots are going well. All the VTC would be “youth of the suburbs who, before manning the walls (not doing anything) and bite now the job of the former. Enervé, a driver loosely the same: “sometimes, they get out of prison in the morning and are drivers in the afternoon. I have seen one with an electronic bracelet”.
The profession version of VTC would also be less controlled “They do what they want, leading Francesco. We do not have the right to work more than 11 hours per day, they can turn their car 24 hours on 24 in tranquility”.
criticisms of the VTC, the controversy rolls quickly on policy. And, necessarily on the presidential profile: “For the taxis, among the candidates, there are two which are Marine Le Pen or Mélanchon, calls a driver. Only they can blow up the system that strangles us. Alone cannot protect us, and fight against the american multinational”. The circle widens and criticism on François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy who have “liberalised” and “killed the profession” is going smoothly.
The reality is obviously not so simple. There is no a side, policies which have dubbed the conquerors of the Far West, and, on the other, the victims of change. Taxis mull over the time where the profession was padlocked by the number of plates (licenses) sold to the drip-feed of each year. A system that, by raising the shortage, guaranteed income as honourable. “We would be reimbursed a plate in 7 years, it should be double now” said Gregorio, who plans to retire in the coming months. “I’ll just rent my plate and wait until prices rebound to sell it because it’s not worth anything today”.
This is the paradox of this profession. Because the permission to transport is initially allocated free of charge. To get it, however, one needs to wait between 15 and 18 years old. Too long for those who wanted to get into the business and were willing to pay for it. Also, over the years, the plate is a little become a “retirement supplement,” says Gregorio. Today, however, it is braderait.
Not so sure, according to master?????? the cabinet Métayer, auctioneer who used to sell in the auction. On this day in an auction room, rue Montholon Paris, the license 4337 a driver put in judicial liquidation is set to price at 80 000 euros… It’ll go away in less than 5 minutes to the 144,000. Proof that some people believe still in the future of the profession.