War Between Uber and Taxi Drivers in Zagreb Continues

Total Croatia News

The arrival of Uber on the Zagreb taxi scene has not been without incident. The latest.

A few days ago, several Uber drivers were detained by the customs police near Zagreb Cathedral, where they were asked to present their licenses. Given the fact that all Uber drivers have professional, commercial licenses to transport passengers, they presented the required documents, but customs officials told them that they are not valid for carrying passengers. Then they forced them to drive all the way to the Slovenian border, where they were kept for several hours. This account has been confirmed by Loic Amado, who is in charge of the launch of Uber in Southern and Eastern Europe, reports Index.hr on December 15, 2015.

“Yesterday we learned that four Uber drivers were detained by customs officials who have checked their licenses. Drivers who are registered and have a commercial license for passenger transport were stopped near the cathedral by the customs officers, who asked them to present their licences. Then they dragged them all the way to the Slovenian border and kept them there for several hours”, Amado said, adding that all Uber drivers are duly registered for the provision of passenger transport services and that is the reason why they will all have Uber’s full support.

“We will investigate how and why this has happened. It is unfortunate that these people, despite being registered as drivers, were treated in such a way. The fact is that there are many attempts to restrict the operations of Uber. A good example is last week’s meeting of the Zagreb City Assembly during which it was decided that the new taxi licenses will not be issued until 2017. This means there will be less competition and fewer choices, which will ultimately lead to higher prices and worse service. There are so many drivers who need a job, and we are a platform which allows them to work”, Amado said.

Although this event seems like an organized action against Uber, Amado does not want to jump to conclusions. He said he would definitely investigate why exactly these four drivers were detained. “We have contacted the appropriate institutions, but we still have not received a response.”

This event is even more difficult to understand if one considers the fact that from the very start Uber was investigated by numerous state institutions whose job is to check if they respect the rules. “The Ministry of Transport visited Uber, we have passed all the inspections and we have received confirmation that everything is in order. This is just sad”, Amado said. “We want to continue to create new jobs, since the demand is high. People love the service, we are growing incredibly fast.”

According to one of the detained drivers, the whole event was highly organized. Everything started last Friday morning when the driver was called by a passenger who asked him to drive him to a location where they were met by armed customs officials who surrounded the car. They took his keys, cell phone and documents. Since Uber drivers know the first and last names of all passengers, they later searched the internet for their names. It turned out that all passengers who were in Uber cars were people from the Taxi Zagreb association.

After interrogation which lasted for a few hours, the drivers were given fines of 35,000 kuna, with their cars impounded until they pay the fine. Uber has decided to fully support the drivers and will pay the fine and provide the drivers with replacement vehicles.


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