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Compromise reached after bicycle racks replace taxi rank on Place Flagey

15:46 05/03/2023

Taxi drivers who threatened to destroy a set of bicycle racks on Place Flagey, which had been put in the place of a previous taxi rank, have reached a compromise with the municipality of Ixelles.

Drivers had protested and threatened to demonstrate on Place Flagey and physically remove the bicycle stands, which drew sharp criticism from citizens’ collection Heroes for Zero, which said: "A line has to be drawn – it can’t be that people themselves start tearing down everything they disagree with.”

Taxi drivers in Brussels have been on the defence since the arrival of ride-share apps such as Uber and Bolt.

Khalid Ed-Denguir, president of the Belgian taxi federation Febet, had criticised the loss of designated taxi parking spaces around the popular square.

“There is no more consultation with the government, no working groups,” Ed-Denguir told Bruzz. “We met the [mobility] minister personally several times, but they never got back to us.”

Ed-Denguir also pointed out that taxis have to pay a fee for parking spaces, while car-share companies do not, and that an estimated 300 taxi spots have disappeared since the current Brussels government took office.

The parking spaces around Flagey were removed, because according to a spokesperson for mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen), they were not compliant with the highway code.

“They were too close to a zebra crossing at a busy intersection, so crossing pedestrians were not visible enough," the spokesperson said.

Now, Febet and the Ixelles municipality have reached an agreement. The bicycle rack will stay, but two new taxi parking spaces will be added in front of the nearby Belfius bank branch.

As a result of the solution, Febet said that no more demonstrations will take place and the issue is considered resolved.

Written by Helen Lyons