Advertisement
News

Uber just pulled its service in Greece after a government clamp down

“We have to assess if and how we can operate within this new framework and so will be suspending UberX in Athens from next Tuesday until we can find an appropriate solution.”

by Tim Hume
Apr 5 2018, 2:13pm

Getty Images

Uber announced Thursday it was suspending one of its ride-hailing services in Greece after the government introduced strict new rules.

The tech giant said in a blog post it was suspending UberX in Athens, which connects users with professional licensed drivers.

“New local regulations were voted on recently with provisions that impact ride-sharing services,” the post read.

“We have to assess if and how we can operate within this new framework and so will be suspending UberX in Athens from next Tuesday until we can find an appropriate solution.”

The company — which also operates a service in the Greek capital called UberTAXI that connects passengers with taxi drivers — has faced fierce opposition from the Greek taxi sector, which accuses it of stealing their business. Last month, hundreds of taxi drivers marched through Athens protesting the app, with some attacking cars they believed were UberX vehicles. A taxi drivers’ union also called a strike.

READ: Uber is giving up on self-driving cars in California after deadly crash

The new rules will require that drivers begin and end each journey in a company headquarters or depot, like a traditional taxi company — a departure from Uber’s model. They also require authorities to create a digital registry of ride-sharing services and their passengers.

Despite opposition from the local taxi industry, Uber has proven hugely popular with passengers, with nearly half a million people using the app since it launched in Athens in 2015. Tens of thousands of people signed a petition, started by a German-owned competitor, Beat, in favour of ride-hailing apps.

UberX already required that its drivers were professionals employed by partner companies such as tourist agencies and car rental firms, and that their cars were no more than seven years old.

The company has faced challenges in many parts of Europe since it launched on the continent in 2011, ranging from opposition from local taxi drivers to restrictions from local authorities seeking to make it comply with rules on labor rights, licensing and safety issues.

Uber pulled out of Hungary in 2016 and Denmark in 2017 following the introduction of new regulations.

Cover image: Greek taxi drivers chant slogans during a protest in central Athens on March 6, 2018 against the Uber text to be voted in parliament. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on VICE News US.

Tagged:
Tech
VICE News
taxi
Greece
ATHENS