Uber will no longer operate in Brussels from 6pm on Friday.
The US taxi platform settled in Brussels in 2014 with UberPop, where individuals can sign up to transport people for a fee. But the court ruled in 2015 that the service was illegal and issued a cease-and-desist order against UberPop. Uber then overhauled its services in Brussels and since then the company has only worked with drivers who have a VVB permit (the same as that of limousine drivers).
Since 2015, Uber has managed to continue to grow in this way in Brussels, where it says about 2,000 drivers drive for the taxi platform. But the Brussels Court of Appeal ruled today that the strike order against UberPop also applies to existing Uber services.
“This ruling is based on old regulations that predated the arrival of smartphones and which the government promised to fix for seven years,” said Laurent Sletst, Uber’s president in Belgium. “We are very concerned that 2,000 drivers in VVB Brussels will lose the opportunity to generate income from Friday. We urge the Brussels government to reform the sector quickly so that drivers can continue to work and provide for their families.”
Uber is investigating whether it can appeal the case.
Hundreds of Uber drivers are taking action
Drivers linked to the taxi app Uber disrupted traffic at the Brussels circuit on Wednesday night. Mubiris, the capital’s traffic hub, reports this.
Belga immediately noticed significant delays on the small ring road in Brussels, especially in Port de Namur and Const-Ouite. It concerns a few hundred drivers, who, in addition to the ring road, also operate highways coming from the airport. The protesters were all in their cars, but they either stood idly by or drove at a brisk pace.
The protesters are demanding the Brussels government to act urgently on new legislation, because the court’s decision is based on a decision from 1995. “We will stop Brussels every day until we get a response from the Cabinet Verfort (Minister President of the Republic).” said Fernando Redondo, president of the Belgian Limousine Drivers Association. (ACBL), “Brussels-Capital Region, ed.)”.