Tel Aviv Taxi Drivers Protest Fuel Prices, Work Conditions

Drivers demand re-evaluation of fuel prices and better protection for taxi drivers; 12 drivers have been attacked in the past month.

Close to 200 taxi drivers congregated on Rothschild Boulevard, the hub of Tel Aviv’s tent city, on Wednesday, to protest high gas prices and work conditions.

The protests have caused mass traffic jams in the city center and the main artery has been closed off to private vehicle traffic.

Taxi drivers protest - Milrod - August 4, 2011
Moti Milrod

Taxi drivers are protesting high fuel taxes, which were not reduced despite the reduction in gasoline prices. The drivers are demanding that gas prices be re-evaluated. Also, they are calling for better protection for taxi drivers after, according to them, 12 drivers have been attacked in the past month.

The procession of taxi drivers left the Tel Aviv central bus station and continued to Menahem Begin Boulevard. From there the drivers proceeded to Rothschild Boulevard via Allenby Street. The drivers planned to “seal off Rothschild Boulevard” and hold a rally at Habima Square.

“There was a time when gas was 15% of our expenses,” Yehuda Bar-Or, chairman of the taxi drivers’ union said. “Now it is 40%.”

The chairman continued, saying “I know that it is going to be an inconvenience for the people of Tel Aviv, and we don’t mean to harm them. We live on the road and therefore we are protesting on the road. We hope that passengers understand that this protest is for them, so that we don’t have to raise prices and hurt them.”

The protest was expected to last for two hours, between 10:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M on Wednesday.