News of: Tuesday, January 31 2006,

Fine for Amsterdam taxis that refuse short rides

Starting February 1, taxi drivers who refuse customers because they only need a short distance ride, can get fined E 50.-.
At this time, the measure only applies to the taxi stand at Central Station.

The measure is intended to improve the quality of taxi services in Amsterdam. One of the main problems is that it is very common that drivers refuse clients who only need a short ride in the centre of town.
Visitors arriving on Central Station normally await this unpleasant surprise when they try to get a taxi to their hotel in the centre.

Taxi drivers don't like short rides because they are not very profitable. It takes waiting time for a taxi driver to be admitted to the taxi stand in front of Central Station, so they'd rather have a longer ride, because after accepting a client they need to wait again to be admitted on the taxi stand.

Taxi drivers are given stickers they can stick on their cars, saying either 'Ja, ik accepteer korte ritten' (Yes, I accept short rides), or 'Nee, ik weiger korte ritten' (No, I refuse short rides). It is unclear what the legal status of the stickers is.

The city of Amsterdam will now fine taxi drivers who refuse short rides, on the grounds that they 'block traffic'. If they refuse a ride, it means they park their car there, thus constituting a blockade.
If the measure turns out to be a success, it will be implemented on other taxi stands too.