Following the March 2014 launch of UberPop, the American company announced the start of UberX, a new scheme offering cars with professional drivers in Brussels, on Thursday. “There is a growing need for mobility in Brussels. Users expect a professional answer to this need, with upmarket comfort,” explains Mark MacGann, Head of Public Affairs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, at a press conference in Brussels.
The new VTC (Cars with Chauffeurs) scheme was launched on the same day, Thursday between 11:00 am and noon. Though prices will remain low – although slightly higher than those for UberPop – only professionals with a Brussels-Capital regional authority permit to run a car rental service with drivers will be allowed to take on passengers.
Uber highlighted the advantages of this service compared to regular taxis: “UberX will still be 25% cheaper than taxis. The fare between Bruxelles-Midi and Bruxelles-Schuman is 10 euros, and 7 with UberPop. Users will also benefit from technological bonuses informing them of approximate waiting time, approximate fare, and a more comfortable vehicle,” explains Filip Nuytemans, Belgian Head of Uber.
With UberX, drivers will be expected to have a registered vehicle with insurance and bi-annual MOTs for the first time. Vehicles will not be more than 7 years old. As with UberPop, drivers will need to be registered as self-employed or have their own company with a VAT registration, and to undergo strict background checks. “We are launching the UberX scheme with 20 drivers to begin with. They are self-employed drivers who want to earn more, as well as former UberPop drivers who turned professional,” points out Filip Nuytemans. “These drivers want to work full time in a professional manner.”