Not so long ago taking a taxi was a luxury, an extravagance for special occasions. Now it has become a frustrating part of ordinary life and taxi strikes are just as infuriating, perhaps even more so, than other public transport strikes. When buses and the metro grind to a halt there is usually an alternative: take a taxi. But when the taxis come to a stop there is almost nothing you can do.

In Rome, which depends heavily on tourism and where there are still large areas ill-served by public transport, taxi drivers know that they have the upper hand, and they want to keep it that way. The fewer taxis there are, the more scarcity value they have, the more power the drivers can wield and the more money they can earn.

On the other hand, reasonably enough, the city is trying to ensure that everyone who wants a taxi can find one, and at a fair price. So Rome