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2014-06-26 08:04

US CABBIES PROTEST: Washington DC taxi drivers parked on Pennsylvania Avenue, halting traffic as they demanded a fair deal against smartphone car services such as Uber. Image: AFP / Paul Richards

WASHINGTON, District of Columbia - Several hundred taxi drivers snarled traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue in central Washington on June 25 2014 to protest against smartphone car-hailing services such as Uber which, they say, are hurting their income.

The protest was led by the Washington DC Taxi Operators' Association, which is affiliated with the powerful Teamsters' union.

Teamsters' member Ferline Buie, who took a letter to City Hall demanding a ban on private sedan services until new regulations were written, said: "All they want is a level playing field."


Taxi drivers in London, Paris, Berlin and Rome staged similar protests on June 11 2014, saying unlicensed drivers and chauffeur services such as Uber had been chipping away at their client base.

While San Francisco-based Uber - a sevice now also available in South Africa - is the main target of the drivers' ire, it's only one of many new smartphone-dependent car services seen as bypassing strict regulations faced by licensed taxi drivers.

Buie said: "The DC drivers have seen the protests across the US and around the world. It is their turn to join the growing chorus calling for these services to follow the rules and regulations they must follow."

Uber, undeterred and operating in 128 cities in 37 countries and valued at the equivalent of R179-billion, sent out an email to its users in Washington pitching its lower-cost UberX service which was "better, faster and cheaper than a taxi".

Read more on:    uber  |  us  |  washington  |  protest

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