Taxi drivers in Hungary staged a protest on 18 January demanding a ban on Uber Technologies Inc. The protest followed introduction of new transportation regulations that levy higher taxes on traditional taxi companies than on Uber and other ride hailing apps.
Over a 100 taxis blocked Monday morning traffic on major roads in downtown Budapest, according to Hungary Today. Taxis sported signs on their windshields that read 'Uber' (crossed out) and 'No Thanks'. Drivers also visited the city mayor's office to hand over a petition. However there was no immediate resolution.
Drivers said the demonstration was against the discrimination in regulations between traditional cab drivers and Uber drivers. The new rules obligate traditional drivers to make certain changes like phasing out older models and painting taxis yellow in order to raise their fares, while Uber drivers are not subject to the same rules.
Speaking on behalf of the protesting taxi drivers, Geza Gottlieb said: "Our main demand is that authorities immediately ban Uber. This is like trying to fight with our hands tied behind our backs."
This is not the first time traditional taxi drivers in Europe have protested against Uber's services. In June 2015, French taxi drivers staged a violent demonstration against the ride-hailing company, which prompted the government to ban the company's UberPop service within France. Belgian and Spanish judges have also petitioned the European Court of Justice to provide a ruling on whether Uber should be allowed to operate as a taxi provider, Bloomberg reported.
Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos said the city authorities have no "regulatory or physical possibilities to ban" Uber. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's cabinet is slated to discuss the matter on 20 January.