Angry Greek Taxi Drivers Flip and Smash Uber Vehicles For Undercutting Ride Prices
Since its founding in 2009, Uber has provided very stiff competition for taxi owners and drivers to earn a living. For Greek taxi drivers, the ride-share service has become more than just stiff competition.
In the country of Greece, taxis are more ingrained into the culture, and many Uber drivers have been arrested for breaking traffic laws and significantly undercutting the competition by offering rides at prices cheaper than allowed by the government.
For a group of taxi drivers in Rhodes Island, Greece, they took their anger and frustrations out on the ride-sharing service by directly attacking an Uber contractor’s hub by flipping some of its vehicles and smashing windows. Footage of the taxi drivers has since surfaced online of them overturning and damaging Uber vehicles.
According to reports, this act of vandalism was ignited after one Uber driver gave the middle finger to local Greek taxi drivers while violating traffic laws, which eventually lead to his arrest by police. The following Wednesday, a pair of Uber drivers were arrested for offering less-than-usual fares to the airport by charging €20 ($22) instead of the company’s minimum required rate of €36 ($40).
Why Are Greek Taxi Drivers Mad At Uber?
The tension between Greek taxi organizations and Uber has grown to be more hostile over the years, limiting the ride-share company’s presence to major cities like Athens, Thessaloniki, and the island of Santorini. Uber Taxi is the only service available under the company, which requires them to hire a regular taxi and professional driver instead of a regular citizen.
Uber’s business model has also been a thorn in the side of Greek taxi drivers in terms of hiring qualified drivers. A regular cab owner in Athens needs to obtain a taxi permit that can cost up to €100k ($110k). Meanwhile, with Uber, drivers don’t need to pay as heavy fees, and is a less stressful process.
Uber Greece has since released a statement in response to the vandalism that took place at their hub in Rhodes Island, condemning the actions of the taxi drivers, stating that nothing should justify these kinds of acts of violence. The Greek branch of the ride-sharing company says they will work with authorities to help identify the individuals responsible for the incident but also promises to stay supportive and cooperate with local taxi drivers.
This attitude is not shared by the local taxi syndicate in Rhodes, saying they will firmly oppose Uber’s presence in the region. According to them, the company has dramatically shifted the market in Uber’s favor, and the competition has become staunchly unregulated and unfair. The Rhodes taxi syndicate says that over 700 local families depend on fares in order to support themselves, and taxi drivers will continue to protest against Uber through public strikes and demonstrations.