ATHENS – A third COVID-19 lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, restrictions including night curfews, has brought Greek taxi drivers to the brink of going bust they complained, demanding more state assistance to survive.
They are also limited in how many passengers they can take, further cutting into their business that has seen far fewer people traveling with non-essential businesses closed and being limited to their neighborhoods.
The Attica Taxi Drivers’ Union (SATA) said the sector is at risk of extermination as its confrontation with the Transport and Finance ministries grew, saying the New Democracy government is doing too little to help.
In a statement, SATA said the government has taken a provocative stance toward “about 38,000 taxi owners and another 15,000 drivers throughout Greece,” many of whom remain in idle.
Deputy Transport Minister Yiannis Kefaloyiannis said the taxi industry had already received 90 million euros ($107.11 million) and that of that amount some 53 million euros ($63.07 million) was paid as refunds to 24,000 drivers.
SATA said that was 800 euros ($952.06) in May 2020 as the pandemic began raging, and that fewer than half the 38,000 drivers benefited from the state’s program that returns advanced taxes,getting only 500 euros ($593.03) more since then.