Hundreds of taxi drivers and transporters protested on Wednesday in Victoriei Square, in Bucharest, as announced by the representatives of the Confederation of Authorized Operators and Carriers in Romania (COTAR), voicing dissatisfaction with piracy in the sector. Police say some 400 cabs, 90 vans and 500 people have protested, other sources point to 3,000 people.
Although the protest was authorized for Wednesday and Thursday between 9:30h and 21:00h, the taxis and carriers began their protest on Wednesday at 7:00h to shout their displeasure with piracy, against Uber.
In the afternoon the protest ended, following the agreement reached by COTAR representatives and the government. COTAR leader Vasile Stefanescu said the government will solve the issue of transport piracy in 30 days and then on the agenda will be the issue of mandatory insurance.
At stake was the amendment of law 38/2003 so that the Uber drivers and other companies operating unauthorized transportation to be fined by police.
Stefanescu said the issues like ‘repeatedly’ and ‘constantly’ will be erased from the law. “I can’t claim Uber will be forbidden, however everyone will need to get license for passenger transport,” the COTAR leader said.
Taxi drivers say they do not want subsidies, nevertheless they claim the laws on passenger transport should be the same for everybody. According to the protocol signed by the transporters’ representatives and the government, the issue should be solved during a 30-day timeframe by amending the law.
In the protest, the COTAR representatives said that “on March 10, Minister of Transport Razvan Cuc promised to promote the GEO to amend two articles of Law 38/2003 so that unauthorized transport activity is sanctioned and Uber applications are required to operate legally in Romania. While there is clear legislation, it is not possible for some carriers to obey laws and for others to defy the same legislation without being sanctioned.”
The COTAR release issued Wednesday morning also read that the confederation apologizes to the customers for the discomfort related to transport, but claims it has the right to protest according to the rights guaranteed by the constitution reading that no one is above the law.
Uber representatives claim they want the transport regulated
Uber representatives claim, in a message sent to digi24.ro, they favour a regulated transport operations and want to cooperate with the Romanian authorities.
“This debate lacks the main actor – the Romanian consumer. More than 250,000 people in Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara use and recommend the Uber application for providing a quality service, taxed and civilized. In only two years, Romania has become the fifth country in the EU for Uber, after the UK, France, Portugal and Poland. (…) We are for regulated transport, we want to operate in an environment defining the new services such as Uber and we want to cooperate with the Romanian authorities to find a solution in order to regulate the field according to the European Commission recommendations,” the Uber officials say.