Brussels taxi drivers have threatened to bring the city to a standstill if the authorities don’t start arresting Uber drivers. In a vote on Thursday night the GTL taxi union gave the government until September 1 to haul the ride-share app drivers into jail or face Paris-style turmoil. In June, taxi drivers in the French …
Friday 21st August 2015 16:32 GMT Tom Maddox
"In France, new laws directly target Uber by making it illegal to show the real-time position of available cars on the smartphone app."
So, basically, the French are preserving the incompetence and inefficiency of the existing taxi model through legal protection. Suck it, French taxi riders!
Friday 21st August 2015 17:47 GMT J.G.Harston
"Smet’s scheme would make Brussels' 700 or so Uber drivers liable for tax on their earnings,"
You mean, in Brussells people don't pay tax on their earnings??? Where's me passport?
It's all ridiculous really. A private hire driver is a private hire driver is a private hire driver. It's irrelevent how they get their bookings (unless in a juristiction where you need a seperate licence to ply for hire). As long as a private hire driver has a private hire license (in juristictions where they are needed) and the private hire vehicle has a private hire vehicle license (in juristictions where they are needed), it's all just a storm in a tea cup.
(Writing as an ex-taxi licensing bod)
Saturday 22nd August 2015 15:15 GMT Stork
I think you might need to expand your knowledge here - in most countries I have lived in (I am in my 5th European country now) there is nothing comparable to UK Private Hire. You essentially have a licence to provide transport to the public (with corresponding insurance and tougher driving license) or you don't.
I am OK with Uber providing an alternative, as long as the insurance and driving license requirements are the same.
Sunday 23rd August 2015 17:48 GMT J.G.Harston
I admit my knowledge is non-London English licensing law, but I also agree with your second point. A driver and vehicle licensed to transport passengers is a driver and vehicle licensed to transport passengers is a driver and vehicle licensed to transport passengers. If there are laws and regulations that a vehicle and driver transporting passengers have to comply with, then a vehicle and driver transporting passengers have to comply with them. It's irrelevent how they get their bookings, they're just another vehicle and driver transporting passengers.
Saturday 22nd August 2015 00:53 GMT Mitoo Bobsworth
Sunday 23rd August 2015 22:06 GMT ElReg!comments!Pierre
Re: "Uber is all about keeping Brussels moving"
Uber is all about undercutting established businesses (not necessarily a bad thing per se ).
When this is done by dodging safety regulations (transport licence, insurance, vehicle safety) and income taxes, as is Uber's business model, well...
Also, when it comes to "moving" (i.e. traffic fluidity), Brussels is quite clearly one of the European capitals that least needs improvement (among those I've driven through, obviously). Mayhaps second to Helsinki (Helsinki's official pitch to lure foreigners is "we don't have traffic jams": they have huge billboards stating so in and around the airport :D)
Saturday 22nd August 2015 16:33 GMT ecarlseen
I always wonder if the Uber bashers have actually tried Uber.
Because I use it all the time, and it's so ridiculously superior that I'm befuddled that anyone would be so apoplectic about it. In places I visit that don't allow Uber it's like going back in time, in a bad way. I've often said that as world traveling inconveniences go I'd rather have to boil my drinking water than deal with the government-regulated taxi services. It would literally take less time out of my day, probably by an order of magnitude (especially in places like Las Vegas where you can easily spend over an hour a day waiting for cabs, and anyone who thinks a Vegas cab driver is safer than Uber needs to share whatever it is they're smoking - worry all you want about insurance regulations but I've never had an Uber driver drive on the sidewalk). It's like a country refusing to use the Internet because it hurts the newspaper business or something like that. Reactionary primitivism.
Essentially what Uber does is give the average person access to something pretty close to what only the uber-rich (pun intended) could afford - a private car and driver. At this point I'm wondering if the hate is because it makes the bourgeoisie happier.
Sunday 23rd August 2015 14:15 GMT phil dude
Re: I always wonder if the Uber bashers have actually tried Uber.
In fact you (@ecarlseen) raise an interesting point - safety. Essentially the closed shop model does NOTHING to increase safety once the initial license is procured.
I mean look at that Sherlock guy, that cabbie of his was *MENTAL*!!!
Sunday 23rd August 2015 17:50 GMT J.G.Harston
Re: I always wonder if the Uber bashers have actually tried Uber.
"Essentially the closed shop model does NOTHING to increase safety once the initial license is procured."
In England outside London you have to renew your driver's and vehicle's license at regular intervals, usually 3 years but that can be reduced by your licensing authority. A taxi license is *NOT* for life.
Monday 24th August 2015 12:38 GMT Anonymous Coward
Are you insured
When I last took an Uber and asked the driver if he had hire and reward insurance (you know the same as every other mini-cab driver needs) he said he didn't need it Uber Covered him.
Uber didn't seem to think the same way....
So how many Ubers in London are actually covered for hire and reward work?
Wednesday 26th August 2015 20:00 GMT J.G.Harston
Re: Are you insured
"When I last took an Uber and asked the driver if he had hire and reward insurance (you know the same as every other mini-cab driver needs) he said he didn't need it Uber Covered him."
Sorry, that's not how the law works. You can't chose whether to comply with the law or not, and you can't contract to not comply with the law.
Monday 24th August 2015 13:46 GMT Ginolard
Brussels taxis are ridiculously expensive. I can only speak for myself but I'm just not prepared to factor in an extra €30-40 on a night out when I can get an Uber for half the price.
I'm really not at all concerned about whether they're licensed/insured or not. Quite frankly, I feel safer in an Uber than in a normal taxi (the way some of them drive is frightening). Until the normal taxi services realise that their pricing models are not competitive, Uber will continue to thrive. Basic economics.
Tuesday 25th August 2015 09:19 GMT Anonymous Coward
Re: Quite simply...
What on earth did you do to get charged that much? Did they charge you for cleaning up your puke?
I don't pay that much for a normal Brussels taxi but I'd also point out the metro and tram network is fairly good too and Brussels is quite small so you can often walk to where you want to go.
Saturday 28th November 2015 10:51 GMT MachDiamond
Suck it up and not pay for licensing
If the Brussels licensed taxi drivers are told to suck it up and compete with Uber drivers, does that mean that they can stop paying taxi permit fees, commercial insurance and being required to have regular health checks?
Full time taxi drivers are working to achieve a living wage. Uber drivers are often using the service to make some extra money and don't consider the wear on their vehicle.
It's very efficient to have a taxi service networked so the closet available taxi is dispatched to pick up a fare. Uber does a good job of that. Instead of marketing their technology to established taxi companies, they have chosen to disregard local regulations in numerous countries to make a fast buck. Their legal department is doing a great job keeping the senior management out of jail, but it's about time a judge just said "enough is enough" and put the lot away.
I can think of a bunch of great businesses I could start by ignoring a few laws here and there. I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't keep my freedom for long if I tested the market with them.