WASHINGTON — Uber, the service that has done well in the United States, is now seeing opposition in Europe. There were protests in major cities across Europe, ranging from London to Paris to Berlin.
Reuters reported that Uber, based out of San Francisco, California, is valued at $18.2 billion since its 2010 launch. The service has riled up taxi cab companies in the U.S., who have a monopoly on city transportation outside of public transportation. Now, the company is facing the ire of European taxi cab companies and their cab drivers.
Uber allows users to get rides from Uber drivers with an Uber app, which is easier and more convenient than waiting for a taxi cab or waving one down in a busy city.
Taxi cabs in London, with their signature black paint look, drove slowly and led to a significant standstill in traffic close to Trafalgar Square and honked their horns while passing the home of Prime Minister David Cameron and the building that houses the country’s Parliament.
Similar protests took place in Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and even Madrid, where commuters had to avoid striking taxi cabs by using other modes of public transportation or walking to work.
To counter accusations that Uber is breaking labor laws and the like, the company’s regional general manager for Europe, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty said, “What you are seeing today is an industry that has not faced competition for decades. Now finally we are seeing competition from companies such as Uber which is bringing choice to customers…Across a number of different countries the taxi industry is very similar – an industry which is highly regulated and arranged in a way that is not pro-consumer but just promotes protectionism.”
Let free markets ring.