Taxi activity increased by 18% in 2022 compared to 2019, while the number of new applicants for VTC drivers decreased.
Recently, tourists and locals often have to wait to find a taxi or VTC in Paris. In the capital’s thoroughfares, the luminous panels of the Parisian taxis in circulation often show red, a sign that the vehicle is not available.
Demand for taxis increases
And with good reason, demand is increasing this year. In 2022, taxi activity increased by 18% compared to 2019, the last year before Covid. A statistic confirmed by drivers who regularly drive around Paris.
“There is a revival of activity. We shop more, tourists come back,” testifies Wilfried at the wheel of his taxi, interviewed by BFM Paris Île-de-France.
Due to this high demand, taxi services are overwhelmed. At the request of a Paris user from the G7 company, we see that all the vehicles offered for a race in Île-de-France are marked as unavailable.
In total, almost 18,000 Parisian drivers are registered in Paris. Many VTC services are also offered in the capital for passenger transport: Uber, Bolt or FreeNow. Despite this variety of offers, it is not always easy to find a vehicle, especially due to the lack of drivers. And with good reason, the number of VTC drivers has recently fallen in the Île-de-France.
Fewer VTC drivers
For Denis Oudinet, secretary of the Ile-de-France office of the National VTC union, the reason for this shortage is simple: drivers’ working conditions do not encourage bringing new drivers onto the market.
“Drivers are beginning to realize that they are working at a loss. Tell me who is able to drive 1h15 for 5€60 an hour? Knowing that it is raw, so remove the loads, the fuel, the Vehicle insurance, etc. Nobody can work at that price,” he denounces, while for several months the price of petrol at the pump has risen sharply due to inflation.
However, this assessment of the situation is not shared by the general manager of Bolt France, a VTC service widely used in Paris. Julien Mouyeket believes drivers’ earnings are higher than before. According to him, the problem stems from the exam to become a VTC driver, which discourages applicants from applying. Within a year, the number of exam candidates has halved.
“It takes a long time to get your card”
“It takes a long time before you get your card. This nine-month to one-year process prevents drivers from earning any income from their activity. (…) And basically the difficulty of the test today does not correlate with the reality of the job “, he judges with BFM Paris Île-de-France.
In any case, the question of the supply of taxis and VTC in the Île-de-France should remain a big topic in the coming months, two years before the start of the Olympic Games in Paris.
9.7 million spectators are expected to watch this sporting event in France from July 26 to August 11, 2024, according to the Paris Tourist Office website.