Prague City Hall will cancel the designated taxi spots marked with a Fair Place sign from Wenceslas Square as well as Old Town Square. The reason is the low interest in their rental and the emergence of mobile applications that have transformed the way to order a taxi. Five out of the 29 sites are leased. This stems from a document that Prague councillors will discuss on Monday. Prague began introducing the spots to administrators in 2002, and five years later it marked them with hand-shaped signs with a raised thumb and the wording “Fair Place”. The Road Communications Manager (TSK) has ended the contracts with the administrators, which will terminate the remaining spots.
Out of a total of 29 administrators, the administrator has terminated the contract without giving any reason in 22 cases. In two cases, the contract has expired and no one else showed any interest. The city was gradually left with five managed spots with an annual yield of about 3.4 million crowns. “There is no interest in them and those who are interested in them are often dishonest,” Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr wrote on his Facebook profile. Paradoxically, according to the inspections carried out by a specialized taxi team, rogue taxi drivers often park in places that are supposed to guarantee a fair price for the passengers. Unfortunately, it was not possible to ensure this using the spots, even despite all the media coverage.
According to a document discussed by councillors, it will be beneficial to abolish spots, to make room for other uses, and, in addition, at no extra cost. Officers no longer have to oversee those places, so they will be able to work in other places. On the contrary, the document states, as a disadvantage, in addition to the financial loss, that additional taxis will take part in normal operations.
The development of mobile applications has also influenced the lack of interest from taxi administrators as well as drivers. “With the gradual onset of mobile applications … the importance of taxi spots is gradually declining, as evidenced by the proven lack of interest on the part of taxi drivers in their authorization to use them,” states the document.
Councillors’ Monday resolution should commission the Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) to develop a proposal on how to use these vacancies in the future. The concept should be ready by 31 August this year.
The city originally offered to rent 45 taxi spots. For a total lack of interest, 16 were transferred as a non-administrator spot and the remaining 29 were leased for a total of CZK 12.3 million a year. Of these, the 22 administrators gradually left and the other two had the contracts expired.