A city campaign launched to fight the use of spiked snow-and-ice tires has made some taxi drivers furious, as they view the tires as a necessity.
Nagladekk, as they are known in Icelandic, are tires designed to travel over snowy and icy roads with the help of tiny spikes. However, these spikes can do a great deal of damage to asphalt, increasing costs to tax payers in the form of more road repairs. They also contribute to air pollution, and they rip up particles from the roads and send them into the air.
As a result, the city of Reykjavík has launched a campaign discouraging their use, but not everyone is pleased.
Ástgeir Þorsteinsson, chairman of the Society of Taxi Drivers, believes the campaign amounts to “hysteria”. He points out that in the winter, roads are neither salted nor ploughed during the night, leaving snow and ice on the streets in the mornings. The situation is especially bad on the weekends; on Sundays, streets cleaning does not begin until after noon.
He argues that when street cleaning begins is based entirely on when buses begin running on a particular day. To ask taxi drivers to not use nagladekk but still get people home from downtown safely on winter weekends is unreasonable, he says.