The high court in Olomouc has provisionally overturned a ban on the use of the taxi application Uber in the Czech Republic’s second city Brno. The ban took effect in July after the city council argued that although it appeared like a regular taxi service, Uber, did not fulfil the licensing and other conditions that other tax drivers were forced to meet. A court still has to give a definite ruling on whether the Uber services can be allowed long term or not.
Taxi drivers launched protest actions in the Czech capital against
competition from Uber drivers on Monday morning.
Groups of drivers staged go slow actions across the city aimed at snarling up traffic and drawing attention to the complaints about unfair competition.
One of the protest actions was focused on the approaches to Prague’s Václav Havel international airport with another on one of the main approach roads from the capital to the airport.
Official taxi drivers say that Uber drivers are not subject to the same payments as licensed drivers are subject to lax regulation meaning that they can undercut them.
Prague’s international airport has warned passengers to give themselves
extra time to reach the airport for Monday’s flights in view of the taxi
drivers’ protest planned for that day.
On its web page the Vaclav Havel Airport administration predicts traffic problems and advises tourists to use city transport instead.
The Czech Association of Taxi Drivers has announced a protest action against the Uber taxi service on Monday in which taxi drivers are expected to slow-down traffic on the main route to the airport.
The police on Monday monitored the latest protest by taxi drivers against
the rival transportation company Uber; no incidents were reported. The
police estimated some 70 taxi drivers took part in the protest which took
place at Prague’s Václav Havel International Airport.
Organizers put the number at 400 and warned that more demonstrations against Uber, which they see as unfair competition, may be held.
Taxi drivers clashed with Uber drivers at Prague’s Václav Havel Airport
on Friday afternoon, iDnes.cz reported. For the second day in a row, they
attempted to prevent the Uber drivers from pulling in at the airport's
terminals and placed English-language signs reading Illegal Transport on
their cars. Police were called out to deal with the conflict.
An iDnes.cz reporter said the taxi men had placed Illegal Transport signs on all cars that were not taxis, including those of ordinary people stopping at the airport.
The mayor of Prague, Adriana Krnáčová, described the taxi drivers’ action as disgraceful and said it attested to their level of intelligence.
A taxi driver in Prague charged a foreign tourists in Prague over 6,000 crowns for a 14-kilometre ride, Irena Seifertová, a spokesman for the police, told the Czech News Agency. The woman hailed the taxi at the Old Town Square in the centre of Prague. The driver initially demanded 480 euros (around 12,000 crowns) for the ride. An average fare for 14 kilometres would be up to 500 crowns. The tourist filed a criminal complaint against the driver, who is now being investigated by the police.
The Brno Regional Court has banned Uber from offering taxi services in the city under the company’s present operating conditions. The court said Uber breached several provisions in the law governing the operation of taxis. The firm may not offer services if drivers don’t possess a permit and if their car is not marked as a taxi and does not feature the name of a company or taximeter. The ruling, which Uber may contest, followed a complaint from a taxi firm in the Moravian capital.