Lisbon taxi drivers’ Uber protest brings traffic to a crawl

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Thousands of taxi drivers have disrupted traffic in Lisbon to show their displeasure at US cab giant Uber. They accuse the company of illegally undercutting their business.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 taxi drivers in the Portuguese capital drove at snail’s place through the city on Friday. Around 1,000 protesters also gathered in the city of Porto and around a hundred in Faro, in the south.

Lisbon taxi drivers tied black ribbons to their cabs and stuck posters on windows saying “Uber go home” and “Uber is illegal.” Access to Lisbon’s international airport was also temporarily blocked and tourists had to use the metro to get to their destinations.

The protests were organized by the trade unions Antral and the Portuguese Taxi Federation. “The government has to stop Uber’s operations, which represent unfair competition with the taxis,” Antral President Florencio Almeida told reporters. “We don’t need state subsidies, but we want the law to be enforced,” he added.

Read the whole story in DW here

 

 

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A few days ago when we arrived at Lisbon Airport we took a taxi to Graca.

We always do that.

On the way to Graca Annette noticed the meter – it was not only much higher than the price we usually pay for the whole trip. The meter was jumping with 5 cents every 10 second. Annette mentioned that.

When we arrived in front of our door at Graca Miradouro the driver said 15 Euro. We take this trip several times pr month and know exactly what to pay. Around 9 – 10 Euros depending on the traffic – incl luggage fee.

Again a taxi driver who thought we we’re stupid tourists who didn’t know anything about distances, taxi fees, jet lagged and the value of money and wanted to take advantage of the situation. What a way to welcome people to this beautiful country.

We refused and paid the usual 10 Euros which he of course accepted.

 

We don’t use UBER ourselves – but after our latest incident with taxis we feel very tempted.

Unfortunately this situation is the same all over the world.

This would never happen with UBER where the drivers are rated and reported and the price agreed before the trip.

So I find this protest hypocritical. If the taxi drivers were more honest, if they were more flexible and provided better services and if they themselves used the advantages of new technology and developed new services UBER wouldn’t stand a chance.

But they haven’t.

Every time you read about UBER in the press its about money and costs. You never read about all the other all the other services their concept provides. Like rating the drives, reporting fraud etc so other customers can avoid getting ripped off.

Still UBER has to follow the legal system and follow all the rules like everyone else and treat their drivers decently.

But Taxi driver please spare me for for this hypocrisy – you are part of the problem.

/Thomas

 

 

 

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