“Bomb on taxi market” headlined Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. In all reactions from the Dutch taxi world Uber’s UberPOP ‘experiment’ was condemned in the strongest possible terms. ‘Pirate’ was one of the nicest names for the US technology company. Others called UberPOP “as illegal as hell”, “completely unfair competition” and a “despicable publicity stunt.”
Wim Brouwer, vice president of Dutch taxi association KNV Taxi, wondered “who’ll protect the consumer when it comes tp paying for the exact amount of kilometres? And what risk does the client face in the hands of an unauthorized driver, or worse, what are the consequences if an accident occurs?” KNV Taxi thinks the activities of Uber are detrimental to the taxi trade’s reputation. Many of those who welcome Uber complain about Amsterdam’s questionable taxi service.
The reaction of the local Amsterdam regulator –in constant discussion with the national ministry and its ‘enforcing’ arm ILT, was remarkably restrained. ILT’s reaction was clear: “ILT will strictly enforce as we do now with other pirate taxis. It is paid passenger transport and drivers should adhere to rules such as regular taxis as defined in the law.” ILT later added it would investigate Uber itself for offering such services and for instigating illegal activities.”
ILT feels that “innovative developments such as the taxi service Uber, should be included in the evaluation of the Taxi Act. This evaluation will take place from the autumn. Whether this leads to changes in the laws and regulations should be reflected in the evaluation itself.”
KNV Taxi is certain that the government will fight this UberPOP-initiative: “For some months Uber has been trying to capture a share of the Dutch taxi market. It is clear that there is no instant success, and now they resort to illegal practices.”
• Will Uber extend its UberPOP-services to other cities in The Netherlands?