Uber services banned from Friday in Belgium

In the context of a dispute between the American giant and a Brussels taxi company, the courts ruled against Uber and asked it to stop its services from the evening of November 26.

The American giant Uber suffered a setback in Belgian justice, forcing around 2,000 drivers who use its car reservation application in Brussels to stop work Friday evening on pain of being illegal.

The judgment handed down on Wednesday evening by the Brussels Court of Appeal constitutes a new twist in the tug-of-war that has pitted Uber against a Brussels taxi company, Taxis Verts, for years.

The “taxi plan” in the background

In the background of this dispute, the government of the Brussels-Capital region, which supports traditional taxis, is accused of dragging out a new “Taxi plan” which would integrate the LVC licenses (car rental with driver) to authorize these independents to work.

Just like UberPop, banned in Brussels by the courts in 2015, the UberX application contravenes the regulations currently in force on the territory of the region, the Brussels Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday.

“We are forced to stop working Friday at 6:00 pm”, protested Thursday Fernando Redondo, president of an association of independent drivers (ABCL), joined by AFP.

This concerns 2,000 Brussels drivers, who are therefore threatened with losing their source of income because they cannot use Uber, the world leader in this niche.

Like Uber’s Belgian subsidiary, Fernando Redondo accused the Brussels government chaired by Socialist Rudi Vervoort of “inaction” for seven years. Uber set up in Brussels in 2014.

Worried about their drivers

For Laurent Slits, who heads Uber’s operations in Belgium, the court of appeal ruled on the dispute “on the basis of obsolete regulations (dating from 1995, editor’s note), written at a time prior to smartphones”.

He accused the government of Rudi Vervoort of having failed in its promises and “failed to reform” this sector of activity for seven years.

“We are deeply concerned for the 2,000 LVC Brussels drivers who will lose their ability to generate income from Friday,” Laurent Slits added in a statement.

Thursday morning, dozens of LVC drivers carried out protest actions and slowed down traffic on several major axes of the Belgian capital.

Victoria Beurnez with AFP

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