BRUSSELS (AP) — Hundreds of taxi drivers blocked traffic in Brussels during an international protest against online ride-hailing company Uber, seen as unfairly distorting the market.
The drivers want Belgian and European authorities to curb the spread of Uber and say the service does not face the tax burdens and regulations they are subject to.
Demonstrators traveled from as far away as Switzerland and Spain for the demonstration which began in the morning rush hour and continued into the afternoon.
Over the past decade, Uber has captured a growing share of the European market thanks to its low prices and state-of-the-art reservation system. Still, the company has faced criticism and accusations that it treats its drivers poorly, doesn’t pay a fair amount of taxes, and uses aggressive lobbying and tactics to gain an advantage.
“What we are asking is to follow the rules, to work like everyone else, to have an appropriate license, an appropriate vehicle, properly insured,” said Kamel Abdellaoui, a taxi driver who came from London to join the demonstration.
In addition to concerns over Uber, taxi driver federations also want European authorities to push back on deregulation in their sector and seek EU help to switch to climate-neutral vehicles.
“The pilots are just there to say: enough is enough,” said Abdellaoui.