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airBaltic to launch taxi service in Riga

21st April 2009 Print

The Latvian national airline airBaltic is establishing a taxi service after trying on several occasions to focus the attention of municipal officials on unresolved problems in the taxi business in the Latvian capital city of Riga.

At the beginning of March, airBaltic wrote an official letter to Riga Mayor Janis Birks to address chronic problems in the taxi business, where services that are rendered are often reminiscent of highway robbery.

airBaltic has received an answer from the Riga City Council, dated April 3, which says that the Department of Transport has no instrument of controlling the fare metres in taxis. The department also recommended that the airline itself fight against fraud by warning its passengers about dishonest enterprises.

"I believe that the Riga City Council has not reacted adequately to the airBaltic proposals vis-à-vis this sector, and that means that the city’s residents and guests still suffer from taxi drivers who cheat," says airBaltic President and CEO Bertolt Flick.

"We have once again received complaints about a man who drives a black Mercedes and has tried to collect 40 lats for a trip from the airport to the city centre. This is an unacceptable practice, one that irreversibly damages the image of Riga and Latvia.

“For that reason, airBaltic has decided to establish its own taxi service, one that works responsibly and with understandable and transparent tariffs. We are also going to recommend to our passengers that they avoid those taxi companies with respect to which instances of fraud have been registered."

airBaltic and the Islande Hotel already offer a bus service known as Airport Express in Riga. The airline also offers passengers a chance to rent a car.