Today was a lousy one to be a tourist in Europe. Taxi cab drivers in Paris, London, Madrid, Berlin, Milan, and elsewhere clogged the streets in front of major attractions to protest what they see as unfair competition from the US ride-sharing service Uber, reports Bloomberg. Uber users can summon a taxi with their smartphones, and cabbies think drivers who participate should be subject to the same regulations they are—including pricey licenses.
"This about an all-out assault on our profession, our livelihoods," a driver of one of London's "black taxis" tells Reuters. "These big companies are coming in, not playing by the rules." Uber has run into similar friction in various US cities, though nothing on the scale of today's coordinated protest in Europe. Executives for Uber, which last week announced $1.2 billion in new funding and a valuation of $18.2 billion, didn't seem fazed. "If anything, it's going to make Uber even more visible, and make a lot of people realize that they now have choices that they didn't have before," one tells the Wall Street Journal. (Of course, not all publicity is good publicity.)