Thousands of cab drivers in Poland’s four largest cities are reported to be driving at very slow pace blocking rush-hour traffic to protest the rising number of unlicensed drivers who offer transport services and the controversial Uber sharing app.
The traditional cab operators argue that those unlicensed services, such as Uber and others, are a threat to their livelihoods and want the government to protect their authorized businesses.
Moving slowly in long lines, with Poland’s national white and red flags flying on their cars, they were to deliver petitions to the prime minister’s office and to the finance and infrastructure ministries. Their action drew some angry comments from bus drivers and those trying to get to work on time.
Organisers said that about 2,000 cab drivers took part in Warsaw and hundreds joined in several other cities across the country. Uber began operating in Poland in 2014.
“We want the government to respond to the illegal activities of some in the transport sector,” said Jaroslaw Iglikowski, a representative of the Warsaw taxi union.
Iglikowski insists that Uber and other drivers fail to comply with laws requiring taxi drivers to use cash registers and undergo psychological tests to obtain licences.
‘‘We want the government to react to the illegal activity of some transport groups,’’ Iglikowski told the Polish news agency, PAP.
In addition to the demonstration in Warsaw, similar protests were staged in the cities of Wroclaw, Poznan, and Lodz.
Meanwhile, Poland’s competition authority UOKiK said last month that it found no grounds to sanction Uber and other operators for alleged breaches of competition rules or consumer rights. Sometime this year, the government said it was working on a new law to regulate transport services, but gave no deadline for implementing it.
Uber Technologies Inc. is a technology company headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States, operating in 570 cities worldwide. It develops, markets and operates the Uber car transportation and food delivery mobile apps.