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Uber to suspend its app in protest over lack of taxi reform

Credit: Belga

Anyone trying to use Uber this Thursday in Brussels will find the app unavailable between the morning commuting hours of 8:30 AM and 11:30 AM.

The popular rideshare platform is temporarily suspending its app on 30 September as an act of protest, demanding that the Brussels Government fulfil its promise to reform the regulations governing the taxi and LVC sector.

“We understand and share the drivers’ frustration at the lack of progress on this reform. LVC drivers have been living in uncertainty for seven years now. We are therefore suspending the application in solidarity with the drivers in Brussels,” Laurent Slits, head of Uber Belgium, explained in a press release.

LVC drivers (or VTC in French, for “véhicule privé avec chauffeur”) are drivers of private vehicles, like limousines, a designation under which Uber drivers are currently classified.

Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort had assured stakeholders – including Brussels residents that rely on apps like Uber to get around in a city that discourages car ownership – that reforms would come before the end of the summer, but the deadline has passed and the promised changes haven’t come.

“As the reform of the sector has not materialised – although promised before the summer by the Brussels Government – the LVC drivers are demonstrating again,” Slits said.

“The demonstration is organised by the Common Front of LVC Drivers, to demand that the government implements the long-awaited sector reform.”

People trying to book a ride on the Uber app between 8:30 AM and 11:30 AM on Thursday will see a message on the screen explaining that no rides will be available owing to the protest.

This will be the first-ever temporary suspension of the Uber app in Europe.

“Uber has taken this exceptional decision because of the seriousness and urgency of the LVC drivers’ situation in Brussels, and wishes to show its support for them,” said the press release.

Uber says it will inform all drivers and users of this temporary suspension ahead of time.

Users are advised to plan their trips accordingly and Uber thanks them in advance for their understanding.

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