Under pressure from cab drivers’ association COTAR, the Romanian government has promised to make legal changes that would effectively ban networked transportation companies like Uber and Taxify.
More than one thousand cab drivers gathered on Wednesday in the Romanian capital, Bucharest’s central Libertății square for a protest to force the Transport Ministry’s hand in this issue and another regulation that would have given preference to companies with newer and better vehicles to serve long-distance routes.
“We met with an emissary of Madam Prime-Minister (Viorica Dăncilă), who again promised us to issue the decree,” COTAR President Vasile Ştefănescu told online news portal Ziare.com. The ordnance in question would remove the qualifier “repeatedly” from a law that allows fines to be imposed on those performing illegal taxicab services. Licensed cab drivers wanted the qualifier removed because Romanian authorities do not have a database which could prove that someone has been operating an illegal cab service.
The government also promised cab drivers that the new regulations regarding long-distance routes will remain unchanged for four years.
“We have been given such promises before (…) so we have not yet called off the protest”, Ştefănescu. “But this time it comes from Viorica Dăncilă and if she doesn’t respect her word – which is hard for me to imagine – she will have a problem on her hands.”
Among European countries, Uber has been banned for either lack of licensing or tax-avoidance in Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary and some German federal states. Taxify, however, still operates in Hungary.
Title image: Cab drivers gather for protest in downtown Bucharest (Mediafax.ro)