Uber continues operations despite decree

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San Francisco-based ridesharing service Uber continues operations in Budapest despite a new decree designating Uber as a taxi company which comes into force today, Uber’s Hungarian Operations Manager Zoltán Fekete said in a statement, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.

The new regulation has classified Uber as a taxi company and requires Uber drivers to get their cars either painted or labelled yellow; Uber drivers and their cars both need to be licensed for taxiing and Uber needs to offer the same base fare and kilometer fee as taxis. The company used to advertise a base fare in Budapest of HUF 300 and a HUF 130 per-kilometer fee, while the base fare for Budapest taxis was set at HUF 450 with a per-kilometer fee of HUF 280 as per a decree established in September 2013.

According to Fekete, the 30-day period stipulated in the decree allowing drivers to become licensed was too short. The manager also faulted the decree for building on outdated regulations from the 1980s.

Fekete told RTL Klub that Uber is urging negotiations regarding the new regulations as they are unclear, however, Centre for Budapest Transport (BKK) said that the regulations are straightforward.

Hungarian online daily origo.hu reported yesterday, that Uber is keen on paying the exam fee for their drivers to become licensed taxi drivers once their exam is successful.

Uber’s operations have also been under scrutiny by Hungary’s National Tax and Customs Authority NAV after National Economy Minister Mihály Varga questioned the legality of Uber’s operations. Varga’s comments followed a demonstration by Hungarian taxi drivers, who claim that Uber’s cheap prices would make their jobs redundant. Uber has been targeted by taxi demonstrations world-wide.

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