A Transport Malta spokesperson clarified that rules which are applicable to white taxis do not apply to garage hire vehicles such as black cabs or other passenger transport vehicles, such as minivans, coaches and open-top buses.
Newsbook.com.mt contacted Transport Malta after the newsroom was approached by sources in the industry operating on Gozo who complained that they had less work than previous years over Carnival weekend due to Maltese based taxis operating on the sister island.
A spokesperson for Transport Malta said that the service requirements for white taxis operating in Malta and in Gozo are prescribed in Taxi Services Regulations. The regulation states that a taxi may only be used on the island which is specified on its licence, that is either Malta or Gozo. The only exception that exists, however, is for white taxis licensed to be used in Gozo which may also carry passengers directly from any place in Gozo to the Malta International Airport, or from the Malta International Airport to any place in Gozo. White taxis licensed to be used in Gozo can carry passengers from any place in Gozo to any hospital in Malta or from any hospital in Malta to any place in Gozo.
The spokesperson clarified that these rules were only applicable to white taxis operating in Malta and in Gozo. These rules therefore do not cover garage hire vehicles, such as black cabs, or other passenger transport vehicles, such as minivans, coaches and open-top buses.
Asked whether Transport Malta received any complaints from taxi operators, the spokesperson replied in the negative, saying that no formal complaints were filed with regards to the service conditions.
Sources close to the industry in Gozo who spoke to this newsroom complained that two particular black cab companies were operating on Gozo over Carnival weekend which is considered to be a good time for Gozitan operators to make money during the winter. Sources speaking to Newsbook.com.mt noted that they managed to make barely one-fourth of the profits registered the previous year.
Sources highlighted that some 80 cabs from Malta were on Gozo during Carnival weekend. The operators were left fuming since there were too many taxi drivers during a usually profitable weekend for the Gozitans. The situation also prompted a reaction by the Gozo Tourism Association.