Taxi drivers in Europe are protesting the expansion of Uber

Uber, the smartphone-based ride-hailing and ride-sharing service that has London taxi drivers in uproar, has attempted to reach a peaceful compromise by allowing users to book a black cab through its app. The new UberTAXI option, which sits alongside the company’s uberX, EXEC and LUX services, will allow users to arrange and pay for the iconic London cabs via their Uber account. The new service tier will charge the same rates as Transport for London dictates for metred black taxis, while the firm will charge a 5 per cent commission, a fee that’ll be eaten by drivers not customers. Uber will hope the perceived ‘olive branch’ will help to calm the tensions between it and the Licensed Taxi Driver’s Association.

Uber Technologies Inc., the car-sharing service that’s rankling cabbies across the U.S., is fighting its biggest protest from European drivers who say the smartphone application threatens their livelihoods. Traffic snarled in cities from London to Madrid and Berlin to Paris as strikes and gatherings by more than 30,000 taxi and limo drivers blocked tourist centers and shopping districts. They are asking regulators to apply tougher rules on San Francisco-based Uber, whose software allows customers to order a ride from drivers who don’t need licenses that can cost 200,000 euros ($270,000) apiece. The biggest city-center protest was in London, where black-cab drivers were joined by private car services and trainees to protest what they saw as the government’s failure to hold Uber to the same standards as other car services and taxis. While similar demonstrations this year have led to smashed windshields and traffic chaos in Paris, a united front in Europe highlights the challenges for Uber’s expansion.

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Written by Connor Livingston

Connor Livingston is a tech blogger who will be launching his own site soon, Lythyum. He lives in Oceanside, California, and has never surfed in his life. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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