Would you book a holiday and risk flying on an unknown uninsured aircraft? The answer is obviously no – so WHY do so many people risk their and their families lives to save possibly €20 max on using an illegal, uninsured ‘taxi’ to take them to or from the airport? Sadly it goes on every day here...
On Monday one such driver was apprehended by Guardia Civil traffico at Alicante-Elche airport for doing just that resulting in his people carrier being impounded and a fine issued for €2,000. On inspecting his documentation – taxed and ITV’d as is required by law, all was in order except for the fact that he was not insured or registered to transport passengers. He had 6 passengers, who each paid €10 cash to the driver – it would actually have cost about that to book through a registered and most importantly, insured private transfer company.
The airport has automatic license plate readers – not only at the drop off point on the arrivals level but also going into the car park. Multiple trips are instantly flagged up to the police – so those that believe by going into the car park they will avoid detection, think again! Benidorm is awash with cash in hand chancers willing to do taxi runs – just take a peek at the various facebook groups or campsite noticeboards offering these services.
In order to be legal and registered firstly you must have and display an ‘SP” plate on the back of your vehicle. SP stands for ‘Servicio Publico’ and will be on all buses, coaches, taxis etc whenever a vehicle has a driver serving the public. But be aware, there are many that buy stickers and put them on their cars. Official taxis will all have their plates displayed like this one pictured.
They will also need to have a ‘tarjeta de transporte’ which is the corresponding certificate with the vehicle registration number plus insurance details that show the category – should read ‘alquiler de vehiculo con conductor’. The insurance costs around €1,000 PLUS per year – this insurance means in the event of an accident you the passenger is covered.
The cost of an SP plate is around €100,000 – yes really and are restricted to what vehicle they can be used on. Perhaps people may now have a better understanding of the charges with these overheads. Another point of interest, if you are hit by an 'illegal taxi driver' then their insurance will NOT pay out and you will have to claim on your own. Coach drivers – for over 9 seats, also have to have their CAP, Professional drivers license which is 130 hours theory plus 10 hours practical and needs to be renewed every 5 years, a 40 hours refresher course!