Since its launch in 2009, Uber’s business model has sparked controversy across the transportation industry. Taxi drivers from all over the globe have criticized the way Uber operates. After the war of words lingered, drivers decided it was time to take it to the streets. And earlier this week, Polish taxi drivers took aim at the ride-sharing app in a city-wide demonstration.
More than two thousand drivers halted traffic at a startlingly slow rate throughout the city’s capital of Warsaw. Cruising at around 5 mph, the drivers created barricades in the city center region as well as many other populated areas. The upset drivers blared their horns and waved the national flag while blocking many busy intersections. To make matters worse, all this chaos occurred during the morning rush-hour.
The taxi drivers acted out in a response to the lack of regulations Uber has for its drivers. Many cab operators claim the app has an unfair advantage over their companies due to its absence of restrictions. The cab industry has to comply with several laws before employing a driver whereas the procedure with Uber is much less complicated. The Uber drivers don’t work directly for the company; they are private contractors conducting business within their own vehicles. Taxi operators believe Uber benefits from several discrepancies in the hiring process.
Although Uber did not enter Poland until 2014, the service has become an overwhelmingly popular alternative to taxis. The ride-sharing engineer has grown from a Silicon Valley startup project to a $6 billion-dollar industry giant seemingly overnight. The demonstration against Uber in Poland was not the first of its kind though. A similar action was taken by one thousand drivers in Rio de Janeiro two years ago as taxi companies continue to struggle coping with the newfound competition.
After the protest ended at noon, cab drivers hoped their voices had been heard. All they seek is a fair marketplace to compete with Uber before the app completely takes over the industry.