Cabbies Clog Europe Streets to Protest Ride-Sharing Uber

Silicon Valley startup is expanding to more countries

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 11, 2014 1:58 PM CDT

(Newser) – 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.)

A demonstrator carries a mock coffin with a message reading 'They want to kill us - Uber' during a taxi protest in Madrid Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Paul White)
Police officers look at a car damaged by demonstrators in Madrid after it was suspected to be a private taxi.   (AP Photo/Paul White)
Police move in as demonstrators try to block the way of a suspected private taxi in Madrid.   (AP Photo/Paul White)
Demonstrators surround a car, suspected to be a private taxi, during a protest in Madrid.   (AP Photo/Paul White)
London black cabs line up along The Mall as taxi drivers stage a protest against Uber.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Taxis clog the streets of London in protest.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
A yellow ribbon reading "Taxi on strike" is seen on a Paris taxi near the Eiffel Tower Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
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