Dissatisfied taxi drivers hit Bratislava streets, again

Bratislava taxi drivers want city authorities to take action regarding ride-hailing apps.

Taxi, illustrative stock photoTaxi, illustrative stock photo (Source: Sme - Gabriel Kuchta)

Despite the recent heatwave, several dozen dissatisfied taxi drivers joined a strike on the afternoon of August 1 by taking part in a protest drive leading from the Bratislava borough of Petržalka to the city centre via SNP Bridge. Many licensed taxi drivers think that two years is long enough to resolve the issue or at least to begin to address it, though they claim that that his how long the authorities have been inactive.

“Negotiations haven't brought light to the issue, and we don't want the state and audit authorities to ignore what's going on here,” chairman of the Civil Association of Licensed Taxi Drivers Matej Krampl told the TASR newswire.

He went on to say that taxi drivers don't want mobile apps like Uber to be banned completely, but they want equal business conditions and for alternative ride services to observe the same laws as licensed taxi drivers.

Taxi drivers are ready to fight until the situation improves to their benefit, Krampl added.

Responsibility of cities

Uber spokesperson for Slovakia and the Czech Republic Miroslava Jozová has responded to the protest. “Our goal is to keep cities moving and to connect passengers looking for safe, reliable and affordable transport with drivers who can share their car and time,” Jozová told TASR, adding that traditional taxi services and new digital services can successfully coexist in a city.

When asked whether Uber is considering leaving the Slovak market, Jozová said, “Uber doesn't choose the cities in which to operate, the cities choose Uber.”

Bratislava has long expressed an interest in addressing the issue. The core of the problem is that the city authorities lack the powers to take action in this regard. Authorities can keep tabs on traditional taxi drivers via the city police, but they cannot do the same with unmarked Uber drivers, City Hall claims.

According to the city, a possible solution lies in an amendment to a specific law in parliament that would include the services provided by Uber and similar companies.

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