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According to investigative journalist Sander 't Sas, we are making the same mistakes as back then.

On Wednesday, June 12, experts and stakeholders will meet in De Balie at the Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen in Amsterdam to look back on the taxi war and discuss the current situation. Among the speakers are journalist and writer of “The Taxi War” Sander 't Sas, chairman of KNV Zorgtransport and Taxi Bertho Eckhardt, crime journalist from Het Parool Paul Vugts, former director of TaxiDirekt Peter Fonkert and former taxi driver TCA Jan den Hartog. That evening we look back on the spiral of violence that the Amsterdam taxi world found itself in twenty years ago.

The last time the taxi law changed, large groups of taxi drivers fought with each other. But even now there is a great call for a different policy: the Amsterdam taxi world is too expensive and unsafe for passengers and too intertwined with crime. What needs to change to gain control of the Amsterdam taxi market? Experts and stakeholders look at the situation now: what is the role of online platforms such as Uber, and what power does the Municipality of Amsterdam have to make demands in a extensively liberalized taxi market?

front line

Twenty years ago, the streetscape of Amsterdam turned into a battlefield, not due to military intervention, but due to a fierce battle between taxi drivers. Cause? The liberalization of the taxi market in 2000. Sander 't Sas, then a young reporter at Radio Noord-Holland, was on the front line of this conflict. His experiences and insights have led to a book: “The taxi war: intimidation, corruption and violence at Taxi Centrale Amsterdam”, which was recently published appeared.

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In the 2000s, the Amsterdam taxi market was strictly regulated. Licensed drivers had a monopoly, leading to high prices and poor service. The new Passenger Transport Act XNUMX, initiated by Minister Annemarie Jorritsma and introduced by her successor Tineke Netelenbos, was supposed to change this. The market was opened to new providers, but this led to fierce resistance from established drivers who saw their expensive permits fall in value.

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TCA Amsterdam

A central figure in the taxi war was Dick Grijpink, director of Taxi Centrale Amsterdam (TCA). Grijpink, a former police officer, played an active role in directing the unrest. He promised legal assistance to captured drivers and did not shy away from insulting ministers in interviews. "He called the minister 'Tineke Netelenkut'," says 't Sas in his book.

Sander 't Sas remembers the period as intense and violent. Taxis were crashed, fights broke out that left drivers in hospital, and vehicles went up in flames. The violence was not just limited to the streets; Political figures such as aldermen and councilors were also intimidated. Organized crime also had a hand in the pie, which made the situation even more complex.

't Sas' book also reveals the financial malpractices within TCA. Money was laundered through Cyprus and invested in prostitution properties in the Red Light District. Criminal John Mieremet was associated with TCA, but the Public Prosecution Service was never able to prove his involvement.

According to 't Sas, we are making the same mistakes as back then. The taxi market remains a source of conflict and tension, especially now that online platforms such as Uber play a dominant role. The current situation shows that market liberalization has not brought the hoped-for improvements. The taxi world in Amsterdam is still too expensive and unsafe for passengers and too intertwined with crime.

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Calendar pack

The lessons from the taxi war are clear: uncontrolled liberalization leads to chaos and violence. Sander 't Sas's book provides a detailed and fascinating insight into one of the most violent periods in Amsterdam's recent history and emphasizes the need for thoughtful policy measures to prevent a recurrence.

The book

“The taxi war: intimidation, corruption and violence at Taxi Centrale Amsterdam”. available at Uitgeverij Nieuw Amsterdam and costs €20,99. The book offers a penetrating look at the battles, political pressure and financial scandals that characterize the Amsterdam taxi war and takes a critical look at the current challenges in the taxi market.

The counter

Since De Balie wants to be accessible to everyone, they opt for some Balie programs entrance fees according to carrying capacity. Tickets for the debate on the Amsterdam Taxi War are available.

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