Brussels Uber files: Head of taxi service blames ideology for Uber favouritism

Brussels Uber files: Head of taxi service blames ideology for Uber favouritism
A note calling for Smet's dismissal as Mobility Minister. Credit: Dirk Waem/Belga.

As the parliamentary hearing into Uber's lobbying practices in Brussels continues, the director of the city's traditional service gave a lacklustre defence of the regional Mobility Minister Pascal Smet, who emails revealed had been in contact with an executive of the multinational tech giant.

An investigative report into the company's unlawful lobbying, subsequently dubbed the Uber files, highlighted a close link between Smet and Mark MacGann, a former Uber executive.

Many were left wondering if the reforms to taxi laws introduced in October 2022 by the Brussels Government had been influenced by Uber's lobbying. The reforms loosened regulations on the company.

As a result, the Brussels Parliament has launched a hearing to determine the extent to which Uber might have been involved. The capital's traditional taxi services were invited to testify.

Related News

Speaking to parliamentarians on Thursday, Michel Pêtre – director of Brussels' Green Taxi service – was asked whether Smet had bent to Uber's demands. "I don't think so," he answered, "however, I think (Uber's demands) simply suited him and his wishes" to loosen regulations.

Pêtre revealed that he and other members of the taxi sector were barely consulted in the run-up to the reform and stated that Smet thinks of himself as above other affected parties: "He likes to think that what he says has more value than what others say," Pêtre concluded.

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.