Uber drivers protest partial shutdown in Brussels


An Uber driver on the wheel

Hundreds of drivers with ride-hailing company, Uber, protested in Brussels on Friday against a court-ordered partial shutdown imposed in the city.

The drivers blocked several roads and tunnels, causing significant delays, the Belga News Agency reported.

On Twitter, the police called on the protesters to move their cars or they would be towed away.

The demonstration follows a ruling by the Brussels Court of Appeal, stating that a ban on private individuals offering taxi services should also apply to certain professional drivers.

Around 2,000 Uber drivers with a Brussels licence would have to stop operations from Friday evening, the company said, according to Belga.

Since the ruling, there had been several protests in Brussels, with hundreds of Uber drivers involved, according to media reports.

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The company’s relationship with local authorities and taxi services was considered tense.

On Thursday, the authorities said they would move forward with reforming paid passenger transport so that Uber could possibly start operating again in Brussels.

In the meantime, they would “actively search for a temporary solution,’’ according to a press release from Rudi Vervoort, minister president of the Brussels-Capital region.

An online petition asking for an urgent reform of Brussels’ taxi and traffic rules had 17,000 signatures by midday on Friday.

According to the petition, the ban will not only have dramatic consequences for the Uber drivers, but also for overall mobility in Brussels.

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