Will all of Uber’s various activities (UberBlack, UberLux and UberPOP) be allowed a place on the Dutch taxi market? Although the Dutch taxi-inspectors recently fined four UberPOP-drivers in Amsterdam € 1.500 and are intensifying their activities, Dutch secretary of state Wilma Mansveld (Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment) in a recent parliamentary debate indicated that Uber should be included in the current evaluation of the Dutch taxi laws: “Recent innovations which provide the taxi trade’s services with an incentive to improve, should be given a chance.” She promised to look carefully at ‘innovations’ like Uber. The app-company indicated that –following its intensive lobbying campaign- it is getting more and more political support. Indeed, a majority of the Dutch parliament wants to give Uber a chance. In contrast the left-wing socialist party SP wants to start criminal procedures against Uber for the ‘illegal’ UberPOP-activities. Uber is appealing against the fines for the four UberPOP-drivers and says it is willing to talk about all aspects of its services – including taxation. It recently launched a social media campaign to keep UberPOP alive as a service. It also announced launching a new carpool-service in Amsterdam.
Brussels’ new mobility minister Pascal Smet is working on a new Taxi Plan which might well involve offering room for apps like Uber. UberPOP was banned by Smet’s predecessor, Brigitte Grouwels. Smet is also working on strengthening the role of the taxi industry in Brussels’ mobility by creating innovative sharing- and fixed line facilities for taxis. In two large public meetings, on November 13 and 15 Smet will first be listening to the local taxi drivers and after that to the official taxi associations and operators in Brussels. Smet, who during his first stint as mobility minister in Brussels, completely innovated the taxi industry, plans a similar approach starting 2015.
• Room for UberPOP in Brussels and The Netherlands?