Taxi drivers blocked Kongens Nytorv on Saturday night. Photo: Jens Astrup/Scanpix
The local taxi industry has railed against what it says is Uber’s illegal operation in Denmark. The taxi drivers argue that the rideshare service Uber Pop creates unfair competition because Uber’s drivers and vehicles aren’t required to live up to the same requirements as others in the taxi business, one of the most thoroughly-regulated industries in Denmark.
Taxi drivers have reported individual Uber operators to the police, but charges have been rare due to uncertainties over legislation. Commissioner Søren Wiborg of Copenhagen Police’s traffic department told Berlingske in December that current policy is not to actively pursue Uber drivers
, but to charge them if they are caught by other means such as regular traffic checks.
On Saturday night, Copenhagen taxi drivers took their frustrations to the streets and blocked off the busy Kongens Nytorv area at 9pm.
The protest action was organized by taxi driver Nadim Rasool.
“We just want to display in a peaceful way that we should have the same rules. If they can drive around without paying taxes then lorry drivers and chauffeurs should also be able to stop paying taxes,” he told news agency Ritzau.
“If we need to pay taxes and have insurance, they should also have to. If there is going to be competition, it needs to be on equal footing,” Rasool added.
Uber’s spokesman in Denmark, Oliver Carra, said that individual drivers are responsible for reporting their income for tax purposes. He said he hopes that Denmark will clarify the rules to avoid future clashes with the established taxi industry.
“Uber shares a wish for reform of taxi operation and ride share programmes that would make it possible to take advantage of technology in order to create safe, convenient and cheap rides to the benefit of the Danes,” Carra told Ritzau.