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US Coronavirus in Paris: No tourists, few errands… The hassle of taxis and VTCs

12:40  28 september  2020
12:40  28 september  2020 Source:   20minutes.fr

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Some drivers fear having to put the key under the door

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Boulevard Vaugirard, in Paris. For several hundred meters, a long column of taxis waited in single file in front of the entrance to Montparnasse station, waiting for rare travelers. "Before the containment and the Covid-19 epidemic, we waited between 15 and 20 minutes to get a ride," said a driver. But in recent months, it has taken more than an hour ".

Like many other professions, taxis and VTCs have taken the full brunt of the epidemic. The area is far from anecdotal: around 18,000 taxis and 20,000 VTC operate in and around the capital. For months, foreign tourists did not come, blocked by the many health restrictions imposed around the world and the shutdown of air traffic.

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Paris (AFP) - Rachid Saidi puts on a brave face at the Paris hotel he manages, forcing a smile even though the coronavirus outbreak threatens his There are fewer queues and waiting, such as at the Louvre. We pretty much just walked straight into there compared to the queues that you'd normally

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Reservations still far from normal

And when they were able to come, they preferred the great outdoors to the metropolises. At the beginning of August, the Ile-de-France thus showed a deficit of 16 million travelers compared to last year. "Paris has also lost its business clientele" reported this summer to Didier Arino, Managing Director of Protourisme, due to the cancellation of many seminars and trade fairs.

All this weighs on the turnover of taxis and VTCs. At Uber, a spokesperson confirms to 20 Minutes that activity is far from being back to normal: “The level of gross travel bookings (turnover) in France has recovered to reach around 70 % of its pre-Covid level. The level of reservations to French airports has returned to around 40% of its pre-Covid level. "

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Faced with these catastrophic figures, the government has decided to include taxis and VTCs in the " tourism plan "presented in June . In particular, it provides for an exemption from the payment of social contributions over the period between March and June 2020. A real relief for the profession, even if the outlook remains very uncertain.

“Between three and four trips a day”

In Montparnasse, taxi drivers are indeed quite fatalistic. "This is clearly my worst comeback," says Amokrane, who has practiced since 2012. Like many of his colleagues, he has fallen back on the stations where most of his activity is now concentrated. While waiting for a hypothetical customer to arrive, Amokrane rummages in his door and grabs a small notebook in which he writes down his number of trips daily: “Last year, at the same time, I was doing between 15 and 17 errands a day. Right now it's more like three to four ".

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Tourists traveling to the Red Sea, South Sinai and Matrouh are exempt, but will not be allowed to travel to other Tourists may be subject to temperature checks and other health screenings, and those Screenings will be conducted at the airport. Those without symptoms must take a certified taxi to their

When we talk to him about the future, he is philosophical: "I am a tenant driver, so I don't have a license to reimburse. And then I have my heavyweight license, so I can always change if I ever hit rock bottom. " Also a taxi driver, Zephir also has a plan B in case of a big galley. “If it continues like this for a few more months, I will resume my old job in the building industry,” he confides.

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