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Brussels Taxi Federation vows to fight Uber decision

Illustration picture shows Taxi drivers blocking traffic in Brussels, Thursday 02 December 2021, in a protest against proposed plans to allow Uber to resume work in the capital. (BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS)
05:28 14/12/2021

The Brussels Taxi Federation will take legal action to overturn the government’s decision to allow Uber drivers to return to work.

The Brussels government approved an emergency decree on Saturday that should allow Uber to resume its operations in the capital some two weeks after the Court of Appeal banned the company's private car drivers from picking up passengers.

However, the Brussels Taxi Federation (BTF) has called the decision “scandalous” and has vowed to fight it. "The courts have twice proved us right,” said Sam Bouchal of the BTF. “Now, in a few days, the politicians have found a way to overturn those court rulings. So we will challenge this. We are currently discussing everything with our lawyer, but legal action will certainly follow."

"At the end of this summer, we drew up a 10-page document with all kinds of proposals,” he added. “There are none of these in the decree."

A number of conditions are attached to Uber's return. Only drivers who can prove that they work for more than 20 hours a week are allowed to operate. "That's impossible to control," Bouchal said. "If the Uber driver has the app open while watching TV, those hours also count."

The decree is also only applicable to platforms that operate out of Belgium and if they hand over data to the Brussels administration about their drivers. In addition, Uber drivers are also no longer allowed to park on public roads or at a taxi rank. "They're not going to stick to this," added Bouchal. "They are still parked in the taxi ranks despite the ban. That will not change because of this ordinance. Uber never abides by the rules."

"The taxi drivers are frustrated and desperate. After years of struggle, this decree is the unjust result," Bouchal said. "We have always tried to avoid demonstrations on the streets because we do not want to hinder the people of Brussels, but now we see no way out. We will take to the streets to denounce this injustice."

Written by Nick Amies



May be the whole organization of traditional taxis: availability, prices, mode of payment and possibility to judge the quality of the service need an overhaul. These are all items that make Uber attractive from the side of customers. On the side of drivers decent social conditions have to be maintained but a privileged monopoly of some, paying large sums for a license, is not the solution. People should be able to generate income when willing to work, that goes both ways!

Dec 15, 2021 10:15

When the traditional taxis of Brussels start to produce a decent service, turning up and not making the client wait for hours, not charging an arm and a leg so that taxis are only affordable to the richest inhabitants, then maybe I will start feeling sorry for them. They need to understand that they are there to provide a service. If they can't do that then they deserve not to have a job.

Dec 15, 2021 14:32