Sofia Taxi Drivers Launch Indefinite Protest Over Parking Issues

Society | May 20, 2024, Monday // 09:35
Bulgaria: Sofia Taxi Drivers Launch Indefinite Protest Over Parking Issues @Pixabay

The National Taxi Trade Union has initiated an indefinite protest in Sofia, expressing deep dissatisfaction with the current state of taxi parking provisions in the city.

Taxi drivers plan to demonstrate their displeasure at all 131 locations designated by the municipality for taxi parking in the capital. The union decided to commence these indefinite protest actions after Sofia’s Mayor Vasil Terziev failed to respond to their repeated requests for a meeting. The situation escalated significantly after the new traffic organization on Vitosha Blvd. resulted in the removal of a crucial taxi stand.

The taxi industry has raised concerns, stating that a total of 22 taxi stands have already been removed from the "center" and "first" zones in the capital, all without any prior debate or consultation. This has caused significant inconvenience for both drivers and passengers, further aggravating the taxi community.

Their demands are straightforward yet pressing. They are advocating for the creation of more parking spaces specifically designated for taxis, which they believe is essential to maintaining efficient service and reducing congestion. Additionally, they are calling for the establishment of a consistent line of communication between the taxi industry and the Center for Urban Mobility. This communication is crucial to address issues related to the repatriation of cars that park illegally in spaces reserved for taxis, ensuring that these spots remain available for their intended use.

Context:

Recent traffic and parking adjustments along key boulevards and streets in Sofia's city center have ignited heated debates and disputes among residents. Notably, changes on Vitosha, Patriarch Eftimi, and Fritjof Nansen boulevards, including the implementation of diagonal parking, have spurred extensive discussions on social media platforms.

One of the most controversial changes is the introduction of diagonal parking, which requires drivers to maneuver in and out of parking spaces, potentially leading to encounters with oncoming traffic. Iliyan Pavlov, the Deputy Mayor for Transport in the Metropolitan Municipality, defended the changes, stating that diagonal parking is not only the only legal method but also the safest, as it offers better visibility during parking maneuvers. Despite acknowledging a period of adjustment, Pavlov expressed optimism about the long-term benefits of the new traffic organization.

However, some residents have voiced concerns about the practicality and safety of these changes. Criticisms include the reduction of parking spaces, especially with the introduction of two bike lanes and a bus lane on Patriarch Eftimi Boulevard. Residents question the feasibility for businesses, couriers, and residents in the affected areas, citing potential disruptions to daily routines and increased traffic congestion.

Signs calling for civil protests against the new traffic organization have appeared on vehicles parked near the National Palace of Culture and Patriarch Evtimii Boulevard, highlighting the depth of public dissatisfaction. Concerns go beyond logistical issues to include environmental considerations, with fears that increased traffic congestion could worsen air pollution levels in the area.

While discussions continue and tensions rise, Deputy Mayor Pavlov assures that ongoing assessments of traffic flow and pollution levels are being conducted. The results of these observations will likely influence future decisions regarding the implementation and potential modifications of the new traffic and parking arrangements.

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Tags: taxi, protest, parking, sofia

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