There will be no new taxi strike in Colombia. The taxi drivers’ union managed to secure from the government the commitment to have a differential tariff for gasoline prices. The sector’s protests had been escalating in recent months following a significant increase in fuel prices in Colombia due to the gradual withdrawal of the subsidy that the state had been paying, which favored a low gasoline price.
Differential Tariff Starting in September
After various meetings between representatives of the taxi sector and the government, an agreement was reached. There will be a special tariff for taxi drivers, priced significantly lower than the market rate. The measure will be effective starting this September and is estimated to cost the country 23 billion pesos.
The solution was found in creating a differential tariff that will not undergo the same increase of 600 pesos per gallon as the regular tariff, starting in September. It’s important to note that these increases are scheduled by the government as part of their decision to no longer subsidize fuel prices as they have been doing. The increases have been planned to happen gradually, and the government expects the final price to be around 16,000 pesos per gallon.
This was announced by the Minister of the Interior, Luis Fernando Velasco, on his social media. “In the face of the increase in gasoline prices, we will work on options, starting with the possibility of a differential tariff, so that it’s more cost-effective for taxi drivers to refuel their cars, and they can pass on this saving to taxi users,” wrote the minister.
Satisfaction Among the Parties
After months of protests by the taxi sector, the government initiated negotiations to address, as much as possible, the taxi drivers’ demands. Finally, an agreement was reached. The Minister of the Interior justified the state’s decision to create a differential tariff for taxis.
“The first conclusion is that the increase in gasoline prices obviously affects the cost structure, and it could lead taxi drivers to bankruptcy or a significant increase in fares. So, we will work on options, starting with the possibility of a differential tariff, which would make refueling their cars more cost-effective for taxi drivers so that they can pass on this saving to taxi users,” explained Minister Velasco.
Hugo Ospina, the leader of the taxi drivers’ union, expressed his satisfaction with the agreement reached. “We managed with Minister Velasco, who is a champion of fuels in Colombia, to break down where the fuel cost items come from.”
Likewise, Yorley Oses, a spokesperson for the taxi drivers’ union, said that “the president was very receptive and ordered the creation of a committee that will, in a short period, produce results to bring relief to taxi drivers.”
Measures to Prevent Reselling
On another note, the Minister of Transportation, William Camargo, stated that technical committees would evaluate the control of daily fuel supply. The goal is to ensure that “daily refueling corresponds to what the taxi driver is actually using in providing their service,” clarified Camargo, who also said this topic would be reevaluated in two to three months.