A British taxi company has begun actively recruiting drivers in the Czech Republic due to a shortage of applicants in the United Kingdom. Station Taxis, which is based in Darlington, County Durham, has even set up a training school in Prague. Three Czech drivers are now working for the British firm and another four are expected to arrive in the U.K. by the end of the month.
In other news, the lower house of Parliament has passed an amendment to the law on road transport, introducing stricter conditions on taxi drivers, including an officially sealed taximeter that issues printed receipts, and an internal memory chip storing the previous month's fare data. The amendment was drafted by the Prague City Hall, which is attempting to crack down on the overcharging of passengers, in particular tourists.
The Prague City Hall plans to double the number of controls it conducts to ensure that taxi drivers aren't violating regulations and ripping off clients. Prague Mayor Pavel Bem said on Wednesday that the number of controls should increase substantially to reach some 140 this month. Last month, Mr Bem, disguised as a tourist, was charged six times above the normal rate by a Prague taxi driver.
Prague mayor Pavel Bem was ripped off by a taxi driver who failed to recognize him in a tourist disguise. The Mlada Fronta Dnes daily, which has been waging a campaign against dishonest Prague taxi drivers, persuaded the mayor to dye his hair black, slick it back and put on a pair of expensive sunglasses, before jumping into the nearest city taxi. Asking for a short ride in Prague's city centre the mayor found himself in a taxi with a rigged meter and was subsequently charged six times the normal rate. The driver faces a steep fine and in the event of re-offending he could lose his permit.
A Prague taxi driver drove over a police officer's leg on Tuesday when the officer was carrying out a routine patrol, a police spokesman said on Wednesday. When the officer asked the taxi driver for his documents the latter drove at him and then drove over his leg. The incident is being investigated.
Prague is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Much of its breathtaking architecture has been preserved, food and drink is quite affordable, hotels offer the services their customers need, and all this without losing its magical and historical atmosphere. But if there is one thing that has harmed the city's good name, it's certain greedy and corrupt taxi drivers. And after years of complaints from the public, Prague's city council has finally begun a rather radical campaign aimed at clamping down on the offenders.