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Brussels minister considers a negotiation with Uber
Brussels Region transport minister Brigitte Grouwels and internet taxi service Uber are ready to sit down at the negotiating table to discuss the continuing clash between the two sides. This week a commercial tribunal in Brussels ordered Uber off the road with a threat of hefty fines. Uber, meanwhile, continued to operate regardless, VTM News discovered.
The US-based Uber operates in many cities across the world, but the cars and drivers are not licensed in Brussels. Uber works via a smartphone app: Customers must order cars in advance and can then follow the car’s progress as it drives to pick them up. Vehicles are privately owned by drivers contracted through Uber. The cars are generally upscale and not marked as service vehicles or taxis. The company does not refer to itself as a taxi company but rather as “ridesharing”.
The Brussels taxi federations won their court case against Uber but faced criticism from both the European commission of the digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, as well as some local politicians, who point to a taxi monopoly in Brussels. Grouwels has now opened the door to negotiations, a sign that there could be some flexibility with regard to the rules.
Brussels is not the only city that has had concerns about Uber. Just this week, a court in Berlin also outlawed the service. Several American cities have also resisted the service, including New Orleans and Chicago.
Photo: 5chw4r7z/Flickr Commons