PERMISSIVE REGIME FOR TAXI DRIVERS TO BE TIGHTENED
As of January 1, 2003 taxi drivers who have not paid their patent tax, VAT, and healthcare insurance installments to the National Insurance Institute for the previous year, shall not be given working permissions, Roumen Kroumov, Chairman of the Union of Carriers with the Promyana trade union, told the BANKER weekly.Seventry per cent of the taxi drivers have been saving from the expenses over the last three years, by not paying their annual patent tax (which is BGN653 for Sofia) and the due self-insurance installments. As an excuse for that practice they point out most frequently the low incomes.Experts support the thesis that the currently effective prices of taxi services do not create conditions for taxi drivers to be prompt taxpayers. Although there is not a single criterion for calculating the expenses for fuel and maintainting the vehicle, the cost of taxi services is more than BGN0.45/km. And the liberalized market has now set the price margin of taxi services between BGN0.30-1.30/km. Unscrupulous taxi drivers can be sanctioned by the traffic police, road police, and the Transport Ministry through its regional departments of the State Autotomobile Inspectorate.No steep price increase of taxi services is expected at Christmas. The projected 30% hike would raise the price from BGN0.30/km to BGN0.40/km, which would hardly influence the average number of customers. Citizens in Sofia usually hire a taxi for drives not longer than 4.5 km.