A Greek government plan to regulate taxi-hailing apps, such as Taxibeat and Uber, has angered many consumers who are worried it could disrupt a popular service for their daily commute.
Greece is shaping up as the latest battlefield over fast-growing taxi apps such as Uber, which has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world amid opposition from traditional taxi services and disputes over labor rights.
Uber has been forced to quit several countries, such as Denmark and Hungary, and is appealing against a decision stripping it of its license to operate in London. Greece’s infrastructure ministry has said it plans to introduce draft legislation regulating taxi booking apps, but has given no details.
News of the plan has already drawn a strong reaction with about 30,000 people signing an online petition launched by Taxibeat, a Greek start-up, opposing new regulation. Media reports suggest the government, under pressure from traditional taxi drivers to act, plans to force ride-hailing app operators to sign three-year contracts with licensed taxi drivers, turning them into fully-fledged providers instead of “intermediaries”. This will mean operators will have to pay for a license and be subject to strict rules and different tax treatment.
Rolled out in 2011, the Beat app was acquired by German carmaker Daimler this year and has grown very popular for its fast, high-quality rides. Uber is not as widely used in Greece.
- Greece is the latest battleground for taxi- and app-regulation.