It’s not the first time that tensions have bubbled up into disputes at Nice airport – whether it be the taxis or private car services (VTC). This time it is some of the VTC drivers in France (Voiture de Tourism avec Chauffeur) who are riled up. VTC drivers unlike taxis with their lighted taxi signs, typically do not have distinctive markings, and are not hired impromptu on the street, nor are they typically metered. They are booked in advance for a quoted price per journey. There are about 4000 of them to choose from in the Alpes Maritimes. Some of them are upset with the regulations in Monaco which they allege give Monegasque VTC services an unfair advantage within Monaco. The French drivers have to buy a special license to work in the Principality – it is a “vignette” sticker.
Their anger spilled over on Thursday, September 10, when about 50 of the French VTC drivers started to block Monegasque registered car drivers and some taxis at the two roundabouts in front of Terminal 2 at Nice Côte d’Azur airport – about 30 Monegasque drivers were reportedly affected.
Fortunately, the rest of the traffic was not disturbed with police surveillance being tight and watchful. The French drivers did offer a free shuttle to passengers of the Monegasque car services who were forced to exit the limos to reach the airport.
The French drivers maintain that the constraints and the cost of Monegasque regulations give unfair advantage to their counterparts in the Principality – a measure which has no comparative reciprocal system in France for VTCs registered in the Principality.
Monaco Annual Licence/Sticker Purchases
For the right to accept customers in Monaco, the Principality, since 2014, has imposed an annual sticker on VTCs costing € 900 for two years, then € 600 from the 3rd year to be purchased from the Monaco police authority.
They must also inform Monaco public security in advance of any fare ride on Monegasque territory. And reportedly last June, accreditations were frozen for new companies wishing to buy vignettes. The French drivers also express frustration with the systematic controls undertaken by the Monegasque police.
French Drivers’ Demands
The drivers are asking for reciprocity (Monegasque drivers to be treated similarly in France) or the cancellation of the mandatory vignette to access Monaco so that they can have free movement in the Principality.
Their representatives are now awaiting mediation from the Prefect in order to obtain cancellation of the sticker tax or reciprocity. The Principality is reported to have offered to meet to discuss the situation with the French drivers while the Alpes Maritimes Prefect has sought input from the French Ministry in order to respond.
Meanwhile pending a reply from the Prefecture, the Côte d’Azur VTC Committee, the CCAVT are reported to have organized yet another blockage, the next one almost immediately the following day (Friday), blocking access to T2 at the airport to their Monegasque counterparts only.