The Association for White Taxi Drivers announced on Saturday that it would hold a protest in front of Al-Qobba palace on Monday, in response to the government’s negligence of their demands.
The announcement came during a press conference held at the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), where the drivers explained their demands.
Drivers said they were obliged to sell their old taxis to the government for EGP 5,000 in 2009, as a part of a government program replacing old vehicles with new ones. The government then provided the drivers with new vehicles, which cost EGP 61,000 if purchased with cash or EGP 90,000 for those who paid in instalments.
The drivers claim the new vehicles cost the government EGP 25,000, as they were exempt from tax and customs duties. The government, they claimed, profited from the drivers by selling the vehicles at an inflated price.
Drivers explained that they were promised a 40% discount on spare parts and regular maintenance of their cars but the promise was not fulfilled. They also claimed that most of the vehicles have manufacturing defects, and said that neither the government nor the manufacturers have fixed these defects.
The drivers have demanded that the prices they paid for the new vehicles and the payments they received for their old vehicles be reconsidered. They also called for the manufacturing defects to be repaired and for the promised 40% discount on parts and maintenance to be introduced.
During the conference, ECESR broadcast a video showing President Mohamed Morsi as he stated that taxi drivers had been treated unfairly. Morsi promised that he would solve drivers’ problems during the short video, which was made before the 2012 presidential elections.
Taxi driver Ayman Farouk said Morsi and the Minister of Justice’s advisor had confessed that the vehicles cost EGP 25,000. He called for the prices of the taxis to be retroactively lowered to that amount. “If the government is not supporting us, it should at least refrain from profiting from us. I am calling on President Morsi to stick to his promises and meet our demands,” he said.
Mostafa Abdel Haleem, another taxi driver, said that drivers would demand a meeting with Morsi to discuss the situation during the protest on Monday. “We have been patient for too long and nothing is changing. We are only calling for our rights and we need everyone’s support to reach our aim,” concluded Abdel Haleem.