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Vienna taxis protest Uber as 'unfair'

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Vienna taxis protest Uber as 'unfair'
Photo: Paul Gillingwater
14:47 CEST+02:00
Hundreds of protesting taxi drivers brought much of Austria's capital city almost to a standstill on Friday afternoon, as part of protests against Uber.

The drivers, estimated to number several hundred, drove slowly in a procession from Wagramerstrasse, across the Reichsbrucke, along Praterstrasse and around the Ring, ending at a rally at the Ballhausplatz.

 

The protest was organized by Taxi Club Vienna, which is calling for fair competition within the taxi industry -- a dig at the perceived unfair competition they see arising from Uber, and other ride sharing companies which are soon to launch in Austria.

According to organizer Wolfgang Eberling, the drivers have largely been let down by the Taxi Guild within Chamber of Commerce.

"[Companies like Uber] don't adhere to official taxi prices, and take away our business," complained Eberling in an interview with Die Presse.

Eberling ruled out the use of roadblocks, as has occurred in other European cities where protests against Uber have been taking place, such as Berlin and Paris.

He did however suggest that motorists are likely to face major delays on Friday afternoon as a result of their industrial action.

Despite attracting several hundred protestors, the Taxi Club Vienna, which has operated for three years, only has around ten dues-paying members.

The protest is being supported by the right-wing Freedom Party, according to its transport spokesman Anton Mahdalik.

"We will accompany legitimate protest course, and will be at the final rally with many supporter -- which has been boycotted by the toothless Taxi Guild of the Chamber of Commerce," said Mahdalik.

A similar protest already took place in 2014, but resulted in no changes to the law.

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