The Czech government has just approved a bill under which the providers of taxi services would no longer be required to use taximeters. Ministers say they want to create a level playing field for operators of app-based services. For their part, traditional taxi firms say the move could lead to major problems.
The app-based ride sharing service Taxify has been banned from operating in
Prague until it meets the conditions required from a regular taxi service.
The Prague Municipal Court ruled on Tuesday that, like Uber, the Estonian company must agree to respect conditions which would put it on an equal footing with taxi drivers, by operating a licensed service, with drivers registering and taxing their earnings in the Czech Republic. Taxify may still appeal the verdict.
The company started operating in the Czech Republic in 2015 and the number of active Taxify drivers is estimated at several hundred.
The Association of Czech Taxi Drivers (SČT) plans to stage a protest in
Prague in a bid to have the Road Transport Act amended so as to level the
playing field with services such as Uber and Taxify, association chairman
Petr Polišenský told the Czech News Agency.
Uber signed a deal with Czech tax authorities committing its drivers to registering their earnings using electronic cash registers from later this year. However, the country’s taxi drivers want a firmer approach to such similar operators.
The protest will take place from November 13-16. Polišenský declined to say whether the union planned to block traffic or increase congestion by driving slowly en masse, both tactics employed in earlier protests against Uber and Taxify.
Prague City Hall and the app-based ride sharing service Uber have signed a
memorandum of understanding in which Uber has agreed to meet conditions
which would put it on an equal footing with taxi drivers.
The company has agreed to operate a licensed service, with drivers registering and taxing their earnings in the Czech Republic. Uber has also pledged to join the electronic evidence of sales system introduced last year.
Prague and Brno taxi drivers who consider Uber unfair competition, have been protesting against the ride sharing service for months.
The ride-sharing service Uber has reached an agreement with the government
on conditions which would bring the service on an equal footing with
regular taxi drivers.
Following a meeting with Uber representatives on Thursday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said the app-based service had agreed to use licensed-only drivers who would register and tax their earnings.
Prague and Brno taxi drivers have repeatedly protested against Uber, which they see as unfair competition.
Prague taxi drivers are planning to stage fresh protests against the
app-based services such as Uber and Taxify, the deputy leader of an
association of taxi drivers, Karolína Vencelová, told the Czech News
Agency on Wednesday. The protests are likely to start on Monday. Official
taxi drivers, who have to pay the city for their licenses, say competition
from unofficial drivers is undercutting their business.
The drivers have been pressing city and national authorities to put both types of taxi drivers on the same footing. Several protests, which included blocking the traffic in the city, have already taken place in the previous weeks.
Taxi drivers assembled in Prague on Monday for further protests against
services such as Uber. Scores of taxis converged at Strahov Stadium in the
afternoon before driving into the city centre, where they caused
cojsiderable traffic holdups.
On Thursday and Friday last week hundreds of taxi drivers drove through central Prague in demonstrations that they said were aimed at making clear to the government their grievances about Uber and similar services, which they regard as unfair competition.