Taxi industry launches organisation to compete with Uber
© Dirk Heine

Taxi industry launches organisation to compete with Uber

MEPs and stakeholders have launched an organisation aimed at protecting the rights of taxi drivers and improving competition against ‘social platforms’ like US taxi service Uber.

Social media platforms like Uber “make it too easy to do social dumping at our expense”, said Loreno Bittarelli, president of URI and a vice-president of TaxiEurope Alliance (TEA).

Since expanding into Europe five years ago, Uber has faced criticism from taxi companies for bypassing license and safety rules.

“We think the competition is good – it inspires improvements,” said Miguel Ángel Leal, president of Spain’s taxi drivers’ association FEDETAXI and TEA.

“We do need to favour European actors here,” the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats MEP David Sassoli said, adding that there had been a lot of “negative developments” in the industry recently. Sassoli emphasised the need to establish market rules within the taxi sector that would reflect a “true European market”.

One of TEA’s goals is to develop and implement mobile technologies that comply fully with regulations that are in place.

“We can’t really have fair competition with these new platforms that are coming to the fore. They are not regulated,” said Florêncio Almeida, president of ANTRAL and a vice president of TEA. “Unless they are regulated, how can we compete?”

TEA’s other objectives include the promotion of good practices and training within the taxi industry, as well as the support of sustainability regulations. TEA will also seek to participate in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 in the future.

The organisation will represent over 100,000 drivers in Italy, Portugal and Spain.

One of its goals is to ‘renovate the traditional taxi model’ in order to compete with the privatisation of the taxi industry through the increased popularity of Uber.