Elche taxi drivers and licensed transport vehicles with drivers, known as VTC, have said that there is a “mafia” of “pirate” vehicles operating at the Alicante-Elche picking up travellers and taking them to different points across the in Alicante and Murcia Provinces.

They have said that there are currently more than a hundred vehicles operating outside the regulations man of which are with clients who had previously contracted legal services.

According to the two groups, some of these “pirate” drivers approach parties of foreigners to offering cheaper tariffs.

The situation is not new but, following the pandemic and the subsequent increase in tourism, the situation is skyrocketing out of control.

Prudencio Azor, president of Radio Taxi Elche, says that each time they see an increase in these cars they immediately inform the City Council and the Local Police.

When approached by police agents, the illegal drivers always claim that they are picking up family or neighbours.

The taxi drivers and VTC also insist that there are many vehicles operating outside the law with Russian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Swedish, Finnish and North African license plates and even many large capacity vans and high-end cars, such as Mercedes or Porsche.

They are even brazen enough to advertise and messages on social networks where individuals and alleged companies offering their services, especially in English and Russian, to transfer passengers to and from the airport, predominantly to Benidorm, Alicante or Torrevieja.

There have been occasions where there have been clashes on the outskirts of the terminal between drivers of VTC vans and these “pirates” and in one recent case, attempted aggression that ended up in court, when a VTC driver, JK, received death threats from one of these illegal carriers who, after an altercation, followed him to an airport toilet and pulled out a knife.

The Investigating Court Number 4 of Elche sentenced the “pirate” driver to a 30-day fine of 6 euros a day for a minor offense of threats and a restraining order for three months.