Some taxi drivers commit to demonstration until tomorrow
mti / zoltan balogh
Although the number of taxi drivers protesting against U.S.-based ride-sharing application Uber has dropped to approximately 40-60, some are still causing traffic jams near Deák Ferenc tér and said they will remain on the scene until tomorrow night, according to reports.
Taxi drivers protest at the junction of József Attila utca, Andrássy út and Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út, slowing traffic. (Photo: MTI/Zoltán Balogh)
Taxi drivers launched a demonstration early yesterday morning, demanding that the Hungarian government ban the operations of Uber, which they claim operates illegally in Hungary, according to reports. Taxi drivers said that since Uber drivers do not follow the same strict rules as taxi drivers, taxis cannot compete with the low prices offered by Uber, and the application is hurting their business.
Taxi drivers yesterday met Budapest Mayor István Tarlós, who ensured them that they have his support, however, he said that he did not have the authority to ban the operations of Uber. This resulted in approximately 200 taxi drivers gathering yesterday evening around Deák Ferenc tér, completely preventing traffic from passing through, according to reports. Police have now secured the area.
Taxi drivers remained on the streets overnight despite the cold weather, Hungarian online daily index.hu reported. Some protesters engaged in mild conflicts with Uber drivers throughout the night, index.hu reported. “Tell your colleagues they should not come this way, because the situation is becoming tense … we have been here for 31 hours, you know, and we might smash your windows”, a taxi driver told an Uber driver near Deák Ferenc tér last night, index.hu reported, adding that another taxi driver took a photo of the Uber driver’s car, while another kicked the vehicle.
Uber calls for modern regulatory environment
Uber issued a statement yesterday, claiming that their service is needed, and the taxi driver demonstration shows that modern regulations are required that take into consideration the presence and positive impact of such technologies as Uber, Hungarian online daily origo.hu reported. The company said they are in talks with decision makers as well, origo.hu added.
Uber has been banned from operating in France, Germany, the Netherlands, China, India and Australia, Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet reported.
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