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2013-01-11 09:59

OPERATION ESCARGOT BRINGS TRAFFIC TO A CRAWL: A trip through Paris that would normally take 20 minutes was listed on traffic signs as taking more than two hours as French taxi drivers protest across the country.

SYLVIE CORBET

PARIS, France - Taxi drivers across France clogged streets as they went on strike over state deregulation proposals they fear will cut into their business.

Thousands of protesting taxi drivers lined up single file on roadsides across the nation, refused fares or travelled along freeways at a crawl.

The drivers called the strike "Operation Escargot (Snail)".

VIVE LA CHAUFFEUR DE TAXI


Taxi associations oppose government proposals to allow private companies to transport the sick to medical appointments and permit new chauffeur businesses.

At Paris' Orly airport riot police were deployed as scores of taxi drivers prevented access to the drop-off point at the west terminal, forcing travellers to walk further to get inside.

After hours of negotiations, the interior ministry announced that the government wouldn't make any decisions about deregulation without consulting taxi unions.

It also said it would work to eliminate any confusion between the roles of traditional taxis and the new chauffeur businesses.

Perhaps both sides should consult South African minibus taxi owners...

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