Troublesome Transport 


When tour operators ruled the roost in Ibiza, you (or probably your parents) booked a week away in the sun with a local travel agent (foreign weekends away were unheard of), got on a chartered flight, had your meal in a tray, came through Ibiza airport (usually making a comment about the hot weather), walked up to a holiday rep in a white shirt and red tie who ticked your name on a list and directed you to a large coach. You then sat on the aforementioned vehicle for an hour while it went around 10 hotels dropping off 4 people at a time. Ahhh the nostalgia!!

Fast forward to 2015 and you book your flight and hotel online, cram all your belongings into your hand luggage, sit on a flight full of lunatics then arrive at Ibiza airport to be greeted not by a smiley man in a red tie but a long queue with 100 people waiting for 1 taxi.  Brits love to queue but other nationalities sometimes have difficulty with the meaning of the word’. NIGHTMARE! 

Too many people, not enough taxis is the simple equation especially during the peak summer months and because the ‘taxistas’ only have the same short amount of time to make money their customer service can sometimes be ‘slightly lacking’.

If you come to the white isle in April, May, early June, late September or October then taxis are everywhere. It’s a role reversal as 100 taxis wait for 1 person, Ibiza truly is nothing if not an island of contrasts. Come in the peak 10 weeks, late June to early September, and taxis (or the lack of them) can ruin your holiday unless you are organized. It’s tough to remain calm when you can’t get a cab, it’s 35 degrees and you only have 30 mins until they give away your VIP table.

I have sympathy for the taxi owners. They pay several hundred thousands of euros for the license and then the drivers get abused by shirtless, drug addled tourists who don’t know where they are going after a 2 day bender. I’m being extreme but you know where I’m coming from (don’t you?). My taxi driver friend Pablo Alvarez tells me his stories of the back street drivers screaming and shouting, comatose clients and downright dangerous behaviour. Not all the time but ‘omnia nimi’ (everything in excess) could be Ibiza’s Latin catchphrase for the peak 10 weeks. 

Even though local councils issue emergency licenses during the busy weeks there still isn’t enough supply for the demand so the end result is an overworked, inefficient and expensive taxi service offering a substandard product to clients paying more than ever to come to the white isle. The tourist once again is the one who loses out: a dangerous scenario when you forget who or what is the most important piece of the jigsaw puzzle.

The lack of availability and poor customer service has inevitably led to the rise of the ‘Pirate Taxi’, something that has escalated beyond control in recent years, now so blatant that there’s 20 of them waiting to pounce in the arrivals hall at the airport. Supply and demand means that they are all busy using uncontrolled vehicles earning untaxed money. No wonder the legal taxis are going loco.

Blame the Pirates if you will however everybody knows where and what they are doing so can they presume that through administrative silence and inaction of the local authorities that they are doing nothing wrong?  

However some of the pirates are of dubious nature so we MUST put the customers first, the best transport services in the world are those that are ambassadors for their destination, an extension of the hospitality service, sharing advice and helping wherever possible. 

So is there a solution? Well to start with through controlled deregulation we can look to solve some of the issues with licensed public Mini Cabs/Vans to fill the void between taxis and coaches. Make it easier for individuals and companies to offer legal transport services but also ensure that their vehicles are legal and roadworthy. Charge the Mini Cabs/Vans a reasonable license fee to cover any additional costs and specify that a quality product must be offered. Have a web portal to monitor quality service so the good can prosper and the bad can be removed. Like most things in life the best ideas are the simple ones. More transport, more wealth creation, more taxes, more jobs, better service, happy customers. 

Or am I missing something? 

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Read my blogs, listen to my podcasts and catch me on Radio One Mallorca every Tuesday morning.

14 thoughts on “Troublesome Transport ”

    1. Amigo Mike. Quisiera comunicarle con todo respeto algunas aclaraciones respecto a su articulo. El servicio de taxi en los meses de máxima demanda julio y agosto, esta bien atendido ahora gracias al nuevo sistema de comunicación ( GPS ) que permite,entre otras cosas, solicitar directamente el taxi sin tener que usar el tlf. ya que antes se bloqueaba la centralita telefónica en las horas punta. Ahora las recepciones de hoteles, restaurantes etc. están encantados con este nuevo sistema, lo digo con conocimiento de causa. Estoy de acuerdo con usted que hay colas de gente de 100 personas a veces a 35°,el aeropuerto de Ibiza por ejemplo,pero en lo que usted no se ha fijado es que a veces hay mas de 30 taxis vacíos haciendo cola para cargar, mas los que se van de vacío porque solamente pueden cargar 5 a la vez debido a las barreras que lo impiden.Por lo cual hasta que estos han cargado y los que van detrás se han colocado, pasa un tiempo inútil y desesperante no solamente para nuestros turistas sino para los propios taxistas.Si pudieran cargar 15 taxis a la vez esto no ocurriría my friend. Sobre las paradas de taxi aunque a veces en ciertos momentos se ve gente esperando, la espera es mínima. En todos los trabajos hay picos de faena, pero el servicio de taxi aquí en Ibiza es eficiente actualmente gracias al plan de taxis estacionales implantado por los ayuntamientos y el Consell Insular. Otra cosa seria hace un par de años, ahi le daria toda la razon.En cuanto a los taxis pirata decirle que es falso que existan por falta de demanda, esta la parada de taxis llena de taxis legales y se ven pasar cargados gracias a la infraestructura que tienen y sobre todo a la pasividad de la administración.La flota actual de taxis en nuestra isla dispone de vehículos preparados con la mayor comodidad y mínima antigüedad que ya la quisieran la mayoría de las ciudades españolas. Las asociaciones de taxistas están trabajando cada día mejorando y actualizando este nuevo sistema de GPS para ofrecer el mejor servicio al usuario porque no hay nadie mas interesado en ofrecer un buen servicio que el propio taxista.


      1. Buen noticia que la sistema de GPS funciona y has mejorado el servicio de los turistas pero todavía quedan problemas. Las piratas han empezado en principio porque no eran suficientes y ahora esta un infestación – algunos conductores hay que mejorar la calidad de servicio también porque son embajadores de nuestra isla.


  1. You can book private transfers on no place is too hard for us to find! Whether it be a known hotel or apartment or you have booked a private villa off the beaten track we will get you there. Vehicles catering for 2 people up to groups of 73. We can even provide english speaking drivers where required.


  2. The trouble with using an unlicenced/pirate cab is many fold. Aside from the fact that your first welcome to Ibiza airport is a group of menacing looking men hassling you for a ride, the vehicle is uninsured for the purpose for which it’s being used. Thus any injury sustained through an accident might not cover you once you arrive as casualty.
    Furthermore, being a cash only environment, the hacienda sees none of it.
    One of the problems is that having used a pirate he gives you his contact number and, having rented a villa in the middle of nowhere, white taxis refuse to come up your bumpy camino.
    Thus you’re forced to use the pirate again. This time, when he’s picked everyone up from the villa he calls his pals and, knowing your property is empty, it is ransacked and you spend a day of your holiday at the Police Station
    Pirates indeed.
    Many people I know would love to ‘go-legal’ and put their business on a sound footing. With the extra money to the public purse, this can be used to enforce the law and drive the pirates away.
    Ask the driver to show you his ‘Baleric Targeta de Transporte’ which must be in every vehicle. If he doesn’t have one, he’s likely a pirate.
    I echo Roddy’s comments. Use a licenced, professional mini-bus service. They will always come to your villa, and more importantly you can be confident that when you return home your property will be in tact.


  3. Surely Uber will eventually come along and revolutionise taxi travel on the island, like it has in so many other cities? Although local licensed taxi drivers are unlikely to be impressed…


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