Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-06-11 07:24:04
Uber Technologies Inc., the car-sharing service that’s rankling cabbies across the U.S., is facing its biggest protest yet from European drivers who say the smartphone application threatens their livelihoods.
More than 30,000 taxi and limo drivers from London to Milan plan to cause traffic snarls in 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.
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 plan after a funding round that values the company at $17 billion, almost five times the figure in an earlier round. Out of some 128 cities it serves, only 20 are in Europe, including Manchester, Lyon and Zurich.“European cities have tended to regulate taxi drivers much more than the U.S.,” said Charles Lichfield, an analyst at Eurasia Group in London. “I do think the protests have a better chance of succeeding.”
More than 3,000 Parisian drivers are planning to block the Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports as well as the A1 highway that circles the French capital starting at 6 a.m. local time, according to the FNAT taxi association in France. More»