Hardly any tourists. Bars and theaters closed. Sports events and concerts canceled. Passengers stay out of the taxi business! Statistically, one driver goes broke every eight hours.
André Wunderlich (59), taxi driver from Altglienicke, is still holding on: “At the moment I can only drive grandma to the doctor and pick up mothers with their shopping bags,” he says. But the usual business does not replace that.
“In November, the Berlin drivers made 80 percent loss,” says Leszek Nadolski (55), chairman of the Berlin taxi guild. “Overall, this year we end up with a 60 to 70 percent loss.”
And there will be further massive losses in the next few weeks: In December in particular, taxi drivers usually earn particularly well from Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve. But big celebrations are banned this year due to the corona lockdown.
“According to politics, taxi drivers don’t need any support, after all, we’re allowed to work,” says Wunderlich. The fact that the taxis currently have no customers doesn’t seem to matter.
► No hope for Berliners of Corona easing at Christmas
► Flixbus will resume operations on December 17th
Emergency aid for the taxi industry was only available in March and April. According to the taxi guild, three drivers are deregistering their business every day due to the rigorous Corona measures! “I am currently living on my savings,” says driver Wunderlich, “I have 1,350 euros a month in expenses for my car alone.”
According to the guild, entrepreneurs are concerned with survival! The drivers demand short-time work. “But I am realistic: we will not get any money,” said the chairman.
How many of the 7,300 Berlin taxi drivers will survive the pandemic measures remains to be seen …