Last Friday, about a hundred Brussels taxi drivers demonstrated at the Brussels Parliament. At that time, the widely discussed taxi plan of Brussels Mobility Minister Pascal Smet was being discussed in the Brussels Parliament. Interestingly, the demonstration is not organized by the association of Brussels taxis, representing trade unions, various platforms and employees during the negotiations with the Minister. This group wants to continue its talks with the Brussels authorities. The Belgian taxi federation FeBeT, which is part of that group, did support the demonstration.
Before the demonstration Khalid Ed-Denguir, president of FeBeT told Bruzz he was expecting hundreds of cabs “because we cannot stop our people anymore. They are demoralised and they do not want to wait any longer,” he said. “We have been waiting for two years for a plan that should have been completed by 2015. This new plan was made for Uber and unacceptable for us. Several drivers even wanted to demonstrate with their children to show the impact on their families. If the government does not support the taxi drivers, they also threaten to lose their trust.”
According to Minister Smet, the new Brussels taxi rules are intended to provide more choice and safety for both customers and drivers in paid passenger transport. This week, Smet and the taxi sector already spoke about the future rules in the Brussels Capital Region. Smet intends to have a draft ordinance in May. The new framework focuses on more choice and safety for the customer and strengthening the driver’s position vis-à-vis operators of taxi companies and taxi platforms like Uber. These platforms will only be active in Brussels if they work with licensed drivers, comply with all conditions of transparency and respect the rights of drivers.
“With this new framework, we focus on the customer and on quality, and we end the exploitation of drivers that exists today,” says Pascal Smet. “For the user, there will be more freedom of choice and absolute transparency about who carries them and at what rate. Users will also be able to evaluate the service. This way we make the taxis safer and more in tune with customer demands. Platforms will be able to operate in Brussels, but only if they adapt to the new framework and work with licensed drivers.”
- About a hundred taxi drivers demonstrated last Friday againt the new plans.