The car-sharing service coming from US company Uber Technologies Inc. has been hit with the biggest protest to date, as demonstrator across Europe – from London to Berlin have taken their feud to the streets.
Cab drivers across Europe, but in London also private car services and trainees have joined forces in many of the most important European tourist attractions – like London, Madrid, Paris or Berlin – asking the authorities to thoroughly regulate the San Francisco-based Uber. The main problem is that as opposed to a regular taxicab or even a private limo service – which require special licenses that can cost as much as 200,000 euros ($270,000) apiece – the software of the US company allows a user to call a ride from drivers who don’t need that license.
A strike won’t work,” said European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes. “What we need is real dialogue where we talk about these disruptions caused by technology.”
“We have to have a license to own a cab, we have to have a driver’s license, a cab driver’s license,” said Mark Haslam, a 58-year-old London black-cab driver. “For some reason they seem to be outside the law.”
This is not the first protest against the company, which in the past led to smashed windshields and traffic chaos in Paris, for example, but now the protesters have united in a common front, paralyzing traffic in major cities across Europe.
The protests also underscore a major technological problem, as new age business platforms clash with established, more traditional companies, with the latter challenging the former to become subject to the same regulation practices.