The on-demand car-sharing smartphone service has become globally famous not for its Initial Public Offering valuation – although it was surprisingly big – but for the rising protests from tax and limo drivers around the world and intense scrutiny from municipalities.
Just as it happened in other European cities, Uber’s service remains on-line and fully functional in the Belgian capital of Brussels, even as local authorities have deemed the Uber Pop as illegal.
The US company has started operating in the European city since February and the first few months have turned into a true saga for the service: a court ruling against them, licensed taxi drivers have indulged in true “guerilla” tactics and there was even a conflict between the city’s regulators and a senior official with the European Union – which is headquartered there.
With official cab drivers claiming that Uber is not safe and circumvents normal regulations which require licenses worth as much as 200,000 euros ($253,000), Brussels is just one of the major European flashpoints when it comes to the San Francisco-based company. Uber circumvents regular cabs and limos by offering car travel related services through a web/smartphone/tablet application. In Amsterdam, for example, four Uber drivers were arrested and in Berlin the company is changing its products to become compliant with German law.