France stalls as cab drivers strike
Published 10/01/2013 | 13:19
A strike by taxi drivers has hit travellers across France.
The drivers are striking over government deregulation proposals they fear will damage their business.
Thousands of protesting taxi drivers lined up in single file on roadsides across the country, refused fares or drove on major roads at a crawl.
At one point in the late morning, a trip into Paris that would normally take 20 minutes was listed on traffic signs at more than two hours. The drivers called it Operation Escargot.
Taxi associations oppose government proposals to allow private companies to transport the sick to medical appointments and allow for new chauffeur businesses.
At Paris's Orly airport, with riot police on hand, scores of taxi drivers prevented access to the drop-off point at the West terminal, forcing air travellers to walk further to get inside.
French government officials were negotiating with drivers' associations, hoping to put an end to the strike.
A senior official said the government was confident it could reach a resolution, but stood firm on some measure of deregulation.