French taxis clog transportation links

Taxis drivers on strike take part in a nationwide demonstration on a highway near Paris to protest against legislative transport reforms, January 10, 2013.

French taxi drivers have blocked major roads and highways across the country to protest the government’s transportation reforms.

The protests, which involved taxis blocking the transport infrastructure of Paris and other major French cities, caused disturbances to airport users and commuters on Thursday.

The National Taxi Drivers’ Union (UNT) backed the demonstration.

UNT Head Alain Griset said, “It is regrettable that in France, we are obliged to take these kinds of actions which punish everyone simply to get the government’s attention.”

Some 5,000 taxis clogged the roads near the Eiffel Tower, a popular tourist attraction and business hub.

Drivers in the south of France reportedly formed a seven-kilometer (four-mile) line of taxis on a highway linking the southern coastal city of Marseilles to Lyon in the east.

The taxi associations say the new medical reforms and liberalization policies in France’s transportation sector will cost them their livelihoods and businesses.