Nice Airport was paralyzed for much of today, one of the busiest days of the year as Cannes Film Festival attendees make their way into town. Impromptu checks of licensed taxi drivers as part of a crackdown on fraud evidently spurred the Nice taxi union to take action, and as of 9AM today local time, drivers set up a blockade which did not allow private chauffeur driven cars to enter or exit. This resulted in a standstill traffic jam that left many stranded for hours. The tramway that connects the two main terminals was also shut.
One Deadline staffer was among those caught up in the blockage, explaining that while authorities were on the ground, they did not appear to be proactively moving to resolve the situation. After several hours, a passageway was cleared to allow some hired cars to exit.
One studio executive who arrived a little later in the day suggested that the private drivers were forced to park adjacent to the airport, causing confusion for the chauffeurs and passengers to hook up, and then take a long walk back to the car. “It was getting crazy,” this person said. “There was a real backlog of people in the halls.”
We understand, however, that all talent from tonight’s opening film, Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, came into town yesterday so was unaffected.
The airport this morning warned travelers to get in early:
About two hours ago, the taxi union tweeted that the movement was still ongoing, although it now appears to have calmed:
The taxi union is up in arms over its treatment versus that of so-called VTCs, or chauffeur driven tourism vehicles. According to local media, the secretary of the Nice taxi union allowed that such checks as the taxi drivers underwent today were “normal,” but said, “we ask that VTCs are also subjected to such controls. We just want the law to be enforced.”
Taxis are also upset over a new law which provides for the creation of VTC stations on public roads and the possibility for them to use bus lanes, or to manage medical transport.
Social movements in France are nothing new, and particularly this year we have seen continued unrest throughout the country as the Yellow Vest protesters have taken to the streets every Saturday since mid-November 2018. However, no warning was given ahead of time today, despite that often being the case.