Jose Vieira da Silva, 56, laughs with five other taxi drivers in suits, Thursday (18), next to luxury cars near Avenida Paulista, in São Paulo. “Last month, I spent over R$3,000 on fuel. This month, I haven’t even spent half of it,” he says. “Car maintenance that I stopped doing under the pandemic, I will now. Help came at a good time.”
The luxury taxi driver – a way where fares are more expensive, as are cars, and bilingual specialists – celebrated the R$2,000 he received from the emergency benefit, taxi driver assistance. According to the federal government, the idea is to offset the effects of the increase in fuel prices, as happened with truck driver assistance.
Vieira is a taxi driver and truck driver. He pulled his smartphone out of his pocket, showed a picture of his truck, and stopped at a gas station in Aratoba (SP).
“I’ve never seen a situation like an epidemic, there was no one like it,” he says. “My truck stopped. I prefer the taxi, because it gives more money – or rather, it gives less, but there is more.” “Now, we are on our two feet, but the government provided that assistance again, at the height of the epidemic. At that time, it did nothing.”
For Vieira, the benefit has nothing to do with the elections. “If it was another government, this aid could also have been promoted, because we pay a lot of taxes, and it wouldn’t have much of an impact on Brazil,” he thinks. “I’m not a Bolsonarista, but I’m not Lula either. This money isn’t even political, because it comes to help a lot of people.”
According to the Ministry of Labor and Welfare, taxi drivers who hold a valid driver’s license and a license to provide service registered with city halls in force on May 31, 2022 are entitled to this benefit, the total value of which is R$490.4 million.
A resident of Santo Amaro, in the southern district, driver Luis Augusto, 56, got up at 5 a.m. to start another working day in Baixo Augusta. At nine in the morning, I was in the tenth passenger.
He almost didn’t have to “hang” his taxi driver’s license at Sao Paulo City Hall, during the pandemic, he says. Today, on the verge of being forced to change his 2013 Chevrolet Spin due to a 10-year limit imposed by the municipality administration, he says he has not been able to access taxi driver assistance.
“Everyone who managed to get money by paying for fuel did, but there was a guy who even sold the car. He couldn’t pay the debts and he returned the license. Point on Frei Caneca Street.
The traffic light turned red, and Augusto stopped the car and opened the glove box to show a package of documents. “So that you don’t lose your license, there’s a taxi driver who deposits the document at City Hall. It’s like getting into college debt, you lock it up so you can get another car so you don’t lose your license,” he explains.
“People [taxista] There is a group on WhatsApp. We were chatting to catch up. The system is very flawed, because a lot of men already got help, but there are some that fail.”
For Augusto, the release of taxi assistance at this time is “completely political”. “Why didn’t it happen then because we needed it? The Brazilians are complicated. Give him a girlfriend and the guy has already changed his mind. It’s a strategy,” he assesses, before ending the nearly 3km ride that cost R$22.
According to the Department of Work and Pensions, taxi drivers will automatically get the benefit on the Caixa Tem app or at a federal Caixa Econômica branch. The government did not disclose the number of beneficiaries of the program, as this depends on the information that will be provided by municipalities regarding professionals who have obtained a license to work in cities.
Standing under a tree in downtown Bella Vista, taxi driver Jose Roberto David, 67, waits for a passenger he left at a nearby shopping mall. He says he is against help, but says he is trying to get R$2000. He expects to have the money in the account within ten days. “But it wasn’t the time to give money to taxi drivers, it had to be given to truck drivers,” he comments.
Self-employed truck drivers, another major category for Jair Bolsonaro in the 2018 race, also received aid – which in total should benefit about 900,000 self-employed freight carriers, according to government calculations.
“During the pandemic, there wasn’t even a vaccine, and it’s hard to criticize the government. It’s a result of the coronavirus. He cut fuel after a lot of Bolsonaro’s struggle for governors to cut ICMS,” David says.
“I’ve been working as a taxi driver for 33 years, and the pandemic didn’t bother me at all, no. I worked, thank God, and I didn’t get the virus. If you look at it and think ‘the government should have bought the vaccine, cut prices, I think everything comes in time’ the appropriate “.
Two taxi drivers don’t want to talk. Someone stopped at some point on Campinas Street, got out of the car with the Brazilian flags in the window, angered the report and sent Tab despite.
“It’s all political”
“I have nothing against taxi drivers,” says app driver Everton Silva, 26, as he drives through the streets of Santa Cecilia. If they pay more taxes, he wonders, “they have more rights than those who work at Uber or 99.”
A resident of Ferraz de Vasconcelos (SP), he’s been traveling around São Paulo for hours. “It would be good if we also got help. It’s hard for that to happen, because the taxi driver has a union, and the app drivers don’t,” he adds.
wanted by Tabthe Sao Paulo Taxi Drivers Association did not respond to an interview request.
“There are a lot of changes that are happening because of the elections. Taxi drivers are celebrating that they ran out of fuel, that they got government help, but next year it’s all going to explode again. It’s all political.”
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