Bogotá taxis threaten to blockade airport during strike

Bogotá traffic police during a recent protest in the capital. Photo: Richard Emblin

The Colombian capital is on the verge of gridlock as the largest taxi association vows to disrupt key intersections, including access to El Dorado International Airport.

Hugo Ospina, President of the Association of Taxi Owners and Drivers, has issued a rallying cry to pressure President Gustavo Petro’s national government. The demands encompass the eradication of photo fines, the restriction of ride-sharing apps, and subsidies for fuel costs for unionized drivers.

The impending strike, on Wednesday, November 22, could significantly impede public mobility, with Ospina stressing its “considerable magnitude” and “indefinite” duration. Focal points for the yellow-cab union’s concentration have already been identified, spanning Calle 26 from Carrera 3 to El Dorado International Airport, Usme, Autopista Norte at 170, Portal Suba, Tunal, and Techo. Strike action begins at 5:00 am.

“I respectfully suggest that on November 22, you postpone or cancel your flights,” urged the President of the Association. “The doors to dialogue remain open! However, neither the municipal nor the national government has reached out to us,” Ospina emphasized.

Bogotá Mayor Claudia López responded emphatically on social media to the strike announcement and Ospina’s warning to travelers to “cancel your flights.” In a post on “X,” Mayor López stated that “This individual (Hugo Ospina) and his group cannot continue to threaten us with complete impunity.”

Mayor López has called upon the Attorney General’s Office (Fiscalía General), the national government, and National Police “to preempt this announced riot threat” and ensure the protection of “the rights of citizens, travelers, and the entire city.” The start of the strike coincides with major cultural events in the city, including the inauguration of the Bogotá International Art Fair (ARTBO).