For those still unfamiliar, Uber (formerly known as UberCab) is a mobile application that connects potential passengers with available drivers. The service is generally regarded to be more convenient and cost-effective than a conventional taxi, promoting its expansion from its initial market in San Francisco to some 70 countries around the world.
Licensed taxi drivers, however, have called foul play, arguing that Uber drivers aren't specially licensed, and the cars aren't subject to the same standards and regulations as traditional taxis. So to raise awareness of the issue, the estimated 30,000 cab drivers blocked streets in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The Teamsters Union has issued a statement of support, which you can read below.
For its part, Uber refutes the allegations, justifying – in London particularly – that their drivers are fully licensed and additionally have to undergo the company's own screening process. Clearly the issue will have to be resolved in one way or another. It's just a matter of how and when. What do you think? Watch the video reports below and cast your vote in our online poll.
WASHINGTON, June 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from Teamsters International Union Vice President and Local 922 President Ferline Buie about today's worldwide taxi driver protests against Uber.
"As president of Teamsters Local 922 in Washington, D.C., which is affiliated with the Washington, D.C. Taxi Operators Association, I express our solidarity with today's protests by taxi drivers in city after city across Europe. The drivers are calling for fairness and asking that if the private sedan services are allowed to operate that they do so on a level playing field. Uber is currently operating without having to comply with the same rules and regulations that taxi drivers do.
"In Washington, D.C., drivers are asking the same questions and making similar demands. It is time for the D.C. City Council to do its job. We demand that the city council order Uber, Lyft and other private sedan services to cease and desist operations until fair regulations are put in place. We applaud the Commonwealth of Virginia's decision last week to order the private sedan companies to stop operating until fair regulations are in place. The private sedan companies are stealing our members' work and they continue to operate illegally.
"The drivers' fight in Europe is our fight. Their demands for government action are our demands here in Washington, D.C.
"We are watching these protests carefully and they inspire our drivers to keep up the fight for fairness!"