There’s an approximately 30% rise in the taxi business; the reason for that is the declining number of independent drivers – many of them decided to carry immigrants instead of regular passengers, and it leaves a hole in the system which is filled by the big taxi corporations.
Drivers say that it pays more to pick up immigrants instead of regular passengers, so independent drivers left everything behind in Budapest to take advantage of the situation. In contrast, big corporations are trying to defend themselves by forbidding their drivers to take in immigrants.
“How should I ask for papers from a coloured man who’s getting into my cab in front of a fancy hotel?” asks a driver and says that they have no right to ask for papers from the passengers. But, according to the law, they are not allowed to have passengers who have no legal residence permit, Zoltán Metál, chairman of Hungary’s National Taxi Association (OTSz) told index.hu
Drivers of big corporations try to play by the law and they rather avoid immigrants, in order not to get into any trouble, but independent taxi drivers see a big opportunity in the whole situation.
It is said that the past few days have changed everything; hundreds of immigrants have started their journey barefoot, and since then, there is no visible risk in picking up immigrants. Drivers are encouraged by a piece of news, which says that the Office of Immigration and Nationality in Győr has made a contract with a taxi corporation for carrying immigrants. And if they can, everyone can.
However, it is not that simple. Sándor Pólya, director of TaxiPlus, says that the corporation in Győr does have a contract with the Office of Immigration and Nationality, but with strict regulations: they can transport only small groups and within the city borders, e.g. between the railway station and the Office, to the hospital, etc. It’s not a big number, and they are paid by the Office. They do not take people to the borders even if they pay.
translated by Adrienn Sain
based on an article of index.hu