Once you’ve downloaded the app onto your smartphone, all you need to do is enter an address and a driver will come and pick you up.
The service has been available abroad for many years and also operates in Brussels. Initially casual drivers were used but fresh legislation means only licenced drivers can be enlisted.
In Leuven the city authorities are not happy with the arrival of Uber and talks with existing operators about support are planned. Family taxi businesses also fear the competition at a time when corona means business is slack. In Leuven taxis use taxi ranks and all charge the same rates, but new Flemish legislation has now opened up the market. Drivers do need to apply for a licence and are obliged to prove their skills, while their vehicles must meet several minimum conditions.
In Ghent taxi firms are confident the know-how and quality offered by existing businesses will see off the competition. Ghent companies also intend to embrace the advantages of online hailing. Some 220 taxis operate in Ghent. Uber is expected to increase this number by 60.