Sofia taxi drivers threaten protests, road blockades unless Uber banned

A day after Bulgaria’s Competition Protection Commission imposed a total of 200 000 leva (about 102 000 euro) on two companies operating Uber car travel services, the Taxis Union said that fines were not enough and they would start road blockades unless Uber was banned.

Speaking in an interview on public radio on July 7, Taxis Union head Kiril Rizov described Uber as an “international law-breaker” and said that in Bulgaria, Uber was taking about 30 per cent of the clients of taxi services.

In December 2014, the Taxis Union approached the Competition Protection Commission and prosecutors to lodge complaints against Uber after the service was launched earlier that month.

In an open letter to the media, the union said that unless Uber was banned, in September they would begin blockades of parts of Tsarigradsko Chaussee and Todor Alexandrov boulevards, two of the Bulgarian capital city’s two main thoroughfares.

The concept of the protest included a “march of all the taxis”, going on to the National Assembly, although the union said that it would not blockade the Parliament building itself.

They said that if Uber was banned but continued to operate, then there could be events in Sofia of the kind there were in Paris, a reference to the mass protest by taxi drivers in the French capital that saw cars overturned and access to terminals of Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports blocked.

Rizov said that the September date had been chosen because at the moment it was holiday season.

He said that Uber violated the Road Transport Act and regulations that required that any vehicle carrying passengers for profit must be registered and must be yellow in colour.

“We pay taxes and insurance, unlike them,” Rizov said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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