Warsaw, Poland – Poland’s government has approved on Tuesday a new legislation that will require Uber and other ride-sharing companies to use only licensed taxi drivers as of 2020. If passed by parliament, the new law will come into effect at the start of next year.
In recent years, Polish taxi drivers have staged protests, snarling up Warsaw traffic and causing massive disruption in the Polish capital, against ride-sharing companies, such as Uber, mytaxi and itaxi, which have become hugely popular in Polish cities. Licensed taxi drivers have complained that ride-sharing drivers offering their services through such apps are driving down taxi fares and causing unfair competition.
Despite the new law, another demonstration has been planned in Warsaw next week.
Uber’s low-cost service has faced opposition in other countries around the world, including the Czech Republic which also plans to tighten its regulations against Uber and demand that their drivers be licensed.
At an event in Warsaw in January, Jamie Heywood, Uber’s CEO for North-Eastern Europe, announced plans to invest 37 million zloty (8.6 million euro) in the company’s business service centre in Krakow, creating an additional 250 jobs. He also unveiled plans to add a facility to produce electric bikes for its Jump service, the first of its kind outside of the United States.
“Poland is an extremely important market for Uber and it is here, in Warsaw, that we want to have an office that will be a hub for the entire region of Central and Eastern Europe,” said Mr Heywood.
At the time, Polish daily Rzeczpospolita speculated that Uber’s investment in Poland was aimed at discouraging the government from tightening regulations against Uber.
The American ride-sharing company currently employs 300 people in its Krakow facility.