Taxis no longer want to drive bus and tram tracks in Geneva

Taxis no longer want to drive bus and tram tracks in Geneva
Taxis no longer want to drive bus and tram tracks in Geneva

Traffic jams and “messed up” construction sites in the city put taxi drivers in a hurry. Enough to motivate the Geneva Federation of Official Taxis (FGTO), which brings together some 700 drivers including those from the largest central office in the canton, Taxiphone (but not those of VTCs like Uber). At the end of April, it submitted to the Department of Mobility a project which would authorize taxis to use more bus lanes than today, and above all, to run on tram tracks on their own site.

Objectives, according to the umbrella organization? Improve customer service and the commercial speed of professionals, but also ease road traffic somewhat. By traveling in lanes reserved for Public Transport, “we go faster, it therefore costs less for the customer, we pollute less than stuck in traffic jams, and this will encourage people to ride with us rather than in their own car”, argues Sophie Massarotto, president of the FGTO.

Today, more than a third of bus lanes are open to taxis. They want more, without giving precise figures. They target in particular areas where the possibility of using these corridors is suddenly interrupted, such as on rue du Rhône.

If driving on tram rails is already possible for automobile traffic on shared lanes (at rue de Lausanne, for example), the Federation is targeting those on its own lane, this time. And this, on three main axes of penetration and extraction in the city: to the north, between CERN, the airport and the station; to the west, between Lancy and Plainpalais; and to the east, between Chêne-Bourg and Eaux-Vives. “At rush hour, we could reduce travel time by up to 40% – and therefore customer bills – if we had these new facilities,” argues José Gonçalves, vice-president of the FGTO .

The DSM indicates for its part that as these proposals are currently being evaluated, it does not wish to comment on them at this stage.

Taxis and trams: complicated marriage

Driving on routes reserved for trams could hinder the smooth running of TPGs. The FGTO wants to reassure. In his project, only a few drivers would be authorized to use them, following specific training. “The sections chosen would be “fast lane taxis”, specifies José Gonçalves. We could move around there but not stop to drop off customers.” The training, set up with the State, would involve, among other things, awareness of TPG traffic: “The behavior of a pedestrian differs if he is on the side of a tram track on a dedicated site, or on the side of a road . This requires having to adapt our driving and our reflexes,” illustrates the vice-president of the taxi umbrella organization.

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