According to the most recent estimate from the Brussels-Ixelles police, between 150 and 200 taxis have been gathering since 7 a.m. today on Place Rogier. They are demanding measures be taken against drivers from the company Uber, who are working with “limousine” status.
The number of taxi drivers demonstrating has increased during the course of the morning. They are awaiting the return of the delegation received this morning by the Office of the Minister-President of the Brussels government, Rudi Vervoort. The meeting was still in progress at 10.30 a.m. The Brussels-Ixelles police have said that traffic was only slightly disrupted. Only a single diversion of De Lijn buses was indicated close to Place Rogier.
The gathering is a peaceful one. A large banner bearing the inscription “A creative interpretation of the law” has, in particular, been used on this occasion. This is a reference to the public statement by the Brussels Minister for Transport, Pascal Smet, which has affected the sector. High numbers of Uber drivers from Flanders and Wallonia have obtained limousine licences and come to work in Brussels.
Today’s demonstration is the first of its kind. Its purpose is not to hold up the traffic but to remain static.
Philippe Lescot, is the trade union representative from CSC-TRANSCOM (which defends the interests of transport workers in Belgium). He explains, “This is, you might say, the first blow in a long series of actions during the coming months, but only if steps are not taken.”
He went on, “The taxi drivers are not trying to take the population hostage or to upset anybody. I hope that we will not be forced to lead initiatives which remind us how to fight battles of any kind with the Brussels government.”
It has now been more than 1,000 days since the Brussels government promised a Plan Taxi (a structured taxi plan).