European cab drivers protest practices, spread of Uber

BRUSSELS (AP) — Hundreds of cab drivers clogged traffic in Brussels in an international demonstration against the online ride company Uber, which is seen as unfairly distorting the market.

The drivers want Belgian and European Union authorities to curb the spread of Uber and say the service does not face the tax burdens and regulations that they do.

Protesters came as far and wide as Switzerland and Spain for the demonstration that started at morning rush hour and continued into the afternoon.

Over the past decade, Uber has won an increasing part of the European market with its low prices and tech-savvy reservation system. Still, the company has come under criticism and accusations that it treats its drivers poorly, fails to pay a fair amount of taxes and uses aggressive lobbying and tactics to get an edge.

“What we are asking is — to follow the rules, work like everybody else, have a proper licence, a proper vehicle, properly insured,” said Kamel Abdellaoui, a taxi driver who came from London to join the protest.

On top of concerns over Uber, the cab driving federations also want EU authorities to push back deregulation in their sector and demand EU help to move to climate neutral vehicles.

“Drivers they are just here to say: enough is enough,” said Abdellaoui.

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