Melbourne taxi drivers are protesting against the industry reforms introduced in the industry. They have blockaded Bolte Bridge on Monday. This resulted in the traffic chaos across the city.
The protest has come following the government’s decision to legalize Uber, the ridesharing service. The drivers seemed unhappy with the introduction of $2 levy on the cars and taxi trips. The abolition of the current model of taxi licenses is yet another reason that compelled the taxi drivers to launch a demonstration against the Victorian government. The Victorian Taxi Association has referred to the introduction of a levy on taxi trips as “unworkable”.
The Melbourne taxi drivers launched the protest during peak hours of travel. As a result, the affected commuters seemed angry. A wave of anger ran through the commuters’ crowd. The travelers sprayed insult at the protesters with “Get an Uber” expressions.
Bolte Bridge is the main route that connects the northwest suburbs with the main city. The protesters crawled over the bridge. The taxi drivers proceeded to Spring St through the city where they joined other demonstrators already protesting on the steps of Parliament House.
The drivers took footsteps to Treasury Place, where the office of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is located. The protesters called for the premier and asked him to step out. The taxi drivers also called for the resignation of transport minister Jacinta Allan.
The protest turned ugly when police and Melbourne taxi drivers got into a scuffle. The protesters continued to slam the government’s decision and called the industry reforms “theft” and “literally illegal.”
Impact of Melbourne Taxi Drivers Protest
VicRoads, a government website for traffic, suggests motorists for alternative routes. It also asks them to avoid the Bolte Bridge. The commuters planning to take the Burnley Tunnel and Monash Freeway roads have been requested to opt for Footscray Road and Wurundjeri Way to reach their destination. On the other hand, the travelers to Geelong have been suggested to go for Dynon Road, the Princes Freeway and Geelong Road.
The protest of the Melbourne taxi drivers has led to the diversion of tram routes causing disturbance to commuters. “The current reforms that have been proposed by the Andrews government are just unfair and unjust compensation,” 9News quoted Victorian Taxi and Hire Car Families spokeswoman Melinda Richardson as saying on Monday morning.
One of the taxi drivers, Sandy Spanos, said that they had no other alternative and hence they had opted for a protest. She said that she was a parent, grandparents and a spouse. She has been affected by the deregulation rule of the government. She said that the government has the right to change the goal posts but they must have considered people being impacted who have a family.