In London, cab drivers clogged up traffic near Trafalgar Square, honking as they went past the Houses of Parliament and Prime Minister David Cameron’s home, reports Reuters. Cabbies in Paris choked up main roads during the main commute, while their compatriots in Berlin, Madrid and Barcelona also made things tough on commuters.
“This about an all-out assault on our profession, our livelihoods,” said one London taxi driver who’s been driving for 34 years. “These big companies are coming in, not playing by the rules.”
European drivers claim Uber goes against local taxi rules, licensing and safety regulations, among other things. But Uber says it’s totally on the up and up in each place it operates.
“What you are seeing today is an industry that has not faced competition for decades,” said Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber’s Regional General Manager for Europe.
“Now finally we are seeing competition from companies such as Uber which is bringing choice to customers,” he said, calling the taxi industry in most countries “highly regulated” and “not pro-consumer.”
To make up for today’s traffic snarls, Uber emailed clients in Germany with a 50% for the rest of the day on shared rides, while in London it took out a full-page advertisement offering new customers 20 pounds ($33.58) off their first trip.