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.
The Czech national police force have confirmed that security measures implemented after the recent terrorist attack in Berlin will remain in place through the New Year. The anti-terrorism measures are to supplement standard precautions to deal with countless revellers partying in Prague and across the country.
The trial of six taxi drivers accused of ripping off passengers has begun in Prague. They could face up to eight years in prison for fraud after being caught levying up to CZK 200 a kilometre when the maximum amount permitted is CZK 28. One of the drivers admitted overcharging customers but told the judges on Tuesday that in most cases they had been aware of the price before he took them to their destinations. A former official from Prague’s taxis authority is also standing trial in the case.
Tests for future taxi drivers in part of the Czech Republic including the capital could soon get a little harder, requiring more than geographical knowledge or how to operate a taximeter. Under an amendment being prepared by the Transport Ministry, individual municipalities could opt for stricter rules, for example, requiring taxi drivers to complete psychological and foreign-language tests.
The sharing economy is one of those vogue terms that can perhaps best be explained by some of the concepts which have been made possible by the Internet, digital applications, and credit cards. Crowd funding is one. Others are flat and house renting applications such as Airbnb or Booking, or perhaps one of the most famous of all, the car renting and delivery service, Uber. But they have often clashed with tradition sectors of the economy, like hotels and taxi firms, and authorities are looking on and wondering whether to regulate.
Around 200 taxi drivers protested on Prague’s main highway in the centre of the city early on Monday morning. Only one lane of the normally busy highway was left free for traffic. The protest was called by the Association of Taxi Concessionaries against what they describe as unfair completion from unlicensed taxi drivers using such services as Huber. They also want to highlight the stalled talks with Prague City Hall about higher permitted fares. Talks between licensed taxi drivers and town hall officials collapsed in November last year.
Journalist Janek Rubeš has long reported on crooked cabbies in Prague who overcharge visiting tourists many times the regular amount. Taking an apparent cue from the internet programme Prague vs. Crooks, the police conducted an operation which has now seen seven people – six taxi drivers and a former civil servant at City Hall – arrested. The gathering of evidence took months and the cornerstone was testimony from tourists themselves.