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Warsaw taxi drivers cause traffic chaos in protest over a draft law which they say is favourable to ride-hailing app Uber

9 Apr 2019

 

Hundreds of taxi drivers in Warsaw, Poland, blocked city streets on Monday in protest over a Polish draft law which they believe to be "favourable" to ride-sharing app Uber. 

 

They say the draft also shows direct support to the American firm. 

Traditional Taxi drivers claim that the Uber app represents unfair competition because their drivers can dodge the rules and restrictions that regulate regular taxis. 

 

As reported by the Fin24, the protesters blocked one of the Polish capital's main streets, stopping before the prime minister's office, then the US embassy and finally the ministry of entrepreneurship. 

 

As part of the draft legislation, which would regulate the activity of ride-sharing firms, most notably states that a mobile telephone app can replace the taximeter, which has caused uproar amongst taxi drivers. 

 

The new draft law has already been approved by the Polish government. 

 

Taxi drivers are now calling on the Polish government to abandon the draft law and introduce a new law that would protect traditional taxi operators. 

 

Taxi drivers have stressed that since the introduction of Uber, they have struggled to compete, saying that they are not operating on a level playing field. 

 

One driver has said that his current income is a third lower than it was two years ago.  

He told AFP that all taxi drivers are asking for is "fairness". Traditional taxi operators want all operators to be licenced, have a taximeter in all vehicles and pay the full taxes. 

 

Representatives of the taxi drivers notably denounced a letter sent to the Polish government by US ambassador to Warsaw Georgette Mosbacher, which allegedly threatened to freeze US investments in Poland if Uber were to encounter trouble in the EU member.

The taxi drivers protest was called " unfounded" by a spokesperson for the ministry of infrastructure, who went on to say the new legislation will ensure a level playing field for all cab operators. 

 

Image: Source; Wikimedia Commons  

             Author; Raf24

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