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Taxi protest: traffic chaos in Brussels on Thursday

An estimated 1,500 taxi drivers are expected to take part in the protest from early on Thursday.  They will be joined by colleagues from other countries to protest against the Uber ride hailing service and EU plans to liberalise the sector. The police fear massive congestion and are urging commuters and visitors to use the train and the metro.  Bus and tram services too are expected to be disrupted.

A column of taxi drivers will meet up on the Koning Albert II laan in Brussels starting 8AM.  At 11AM they head for the tunnels of the inner orbital ring road Kleine Ring in order to arrive at the offices of the Brussels prime minister.

For some time now taxi drivers have been voicing concerns about competition from Uber drivers and what is called the company’s aggressive growth strategy.  Uber drivers stand accused of undercutting traditional taxi drivers, Uber of creative lobby work and the use private detectives.  

Sam Bouchal is one of the organisers of the protest: “We’re fed up.  For years we have been requesting a suitable taxi plan.  We also want to take action against the European commission that wants to liberalise the taxi sector.  That will result in a Wild West.”

Official taxi driver organisations are not backing the protest preferring to continue to talk with the authorities with a view to achieving a balance between Uber and conventional taxi services. 

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