The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

New chapter in Brussels taxi war looms as government blamed for inaction

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Illustration shows the logo of Uber on a smart phone (BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK)
06:18 12/05/2021

A new episode in the war between taxis and the Uber and Heetch platforms has begun after the Brussels taxi federation claimed the judgments that make these platforms illegal have not been enforced. The federation has therefore decided to send a formal notice to the Brussels government.

In 2018, the Commercial Court ordered the ride-sharing app Heetch to cease operations. This verdict was followed in January 2021 by a judgment against the Uber X app. The Court of Appeal found that both were in violation of taxi regulations. But since then, neither platform has ceased operations.

The government has announced a 'taxi plan' for the reform of the taxi industry, expected to begin this summer, but the Brussels taxi federation is still angry and lays the blame directly at the door of the capital’s authorities.

"There is a lot of discussion about reform right now, and we are not opposed to it,” a spokesperson for the taxi federation said. “But until this reform is implemented, it seems unthinkable and unacceptable that the laws should not be enforced."

At the time of the judgment against it, the Heetch platform was imposed with heavy penalties but according to the taxi federation, the Brussels government is not doing its job and has let the platform off the hook.

"Since 2018, Heetch owes almost €10 million in penalties to the coffers of the Brussels-Capital region,” the spokesperson said. “We do not understand why the Brussels government does not ask for these penalties, why we do not enforce judgments, why we do not apply the law."

This formal notice is expected to be sent to the Brussels government later this week.

Written by Nick Amies