Brussels tunnels blocked by Uber driver protest

Brussels tunnels blocked by Uber driver protest
Credit: Belga

Several tunnels in the centre of Brussels were blocked on Friday morning by Uber drivers protesting against a ruling by the Brussels Court of Appeal that drivers can no longer work with the ridesharing app.

The Cinquantenaire and Loi tunnels towards the city centre of Brussels are blocked, as well as the Tervueren tunnel, Brussels Mobility said on Twitter.

The action caused traffic congestion in the area, as traffic started to build up as the morning rush hour approached, Belga News Agency reports.

The Brussels Court of Appeal on Wednesday recognised the use of the Uber application as illegal. It based its decision on the 1995 regional ordinance on taxi services and car rental companies with drivers.

In practice, this means that the roughly 2,000 Uber drivers operating in the city will no longer be able to use the app from 6:00 PM on Friday 26 November, making the app virtually unusable in the Belgian capital city, reports De Standaard. The protesters are therefore calling on the Brussels Government to introduce new legislation.

“We will block Brussels every day and drive at a snail’s pace until we get an answer from the cabinet of Rudi Vervoort (minister-president of the Brussels-Capital Region),” Fernando Redondo, president of the Belgian Limousine Drivers Association (ABCL), warned on Wednesday.

“We have been waiting for seven years for this Taxi plan, which has been frozen with Rudi Vevoort’s cabinet. Following the decision in the first instance, we were fined €160. Uber drivers demonstrated in Brussels and we were promised a Taxi plan for the summer. It’s the end of November and we still have nothing,” he said.

Drivers with an LVC licence (Location de Voiture Avec Chauffeur), who use the Uber application to transport people for pay, had already taken action on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Speaking on Friday morning, Brussels police have said they will be asking drivers to move any vehicles obstructing traffic. If they disagree, they will be towed away.

Uber is looking into the possibility to appeal the case, according to Het Nieuwsblad.

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