Berlin taxi drivers to strike again today
Less than two weeks after their first protest, taxi drivers in Berlin will strike again on Tuesday, March 3. The taxis are expected to drive through City West to Tegel Airport in an attempt to cause a “city crash.”
Taxi drivers to strike again
Less than two weeks ago, Berlin’s taxi drivers came together to protest against competitors such as Uber and Free Now. A group of Berlin taxi drivers have now called for the city’s taxi drivers to strike again, with the aim of bringing the streets of Berlin to a halt. Berlin’s taxi guild has shown their support for the strike by posting the call on their website.
Around 1.000 taxi drivers are expected to take part in the protest. The drivers are due to meet at 11 am front of the Olympic Stadium and then drive together through City West, towards the airport, where they are expected to arrive around 1 pm.
The fight against transportation companies
The taxi strike is meant as a protest against the privileges afforded to transportation companies like Uber and Free Now. The Federal Minister for Transport, Andreas Scheuer (CSU) is currently reviewing plans for reform, as part of a market liberalisation, that could give these services a decisive advantage over classic taxi businesses in Berlin.
One reform that the taxi drivers vociferously oppose is the abolishment of the return obligation currently imposed on providers such as Uber and Free Now. This law makes it compulsory for their drivers to return to headquarters after every trip, rather than waiting for new customers in the street. This gives a small advantage to taxi drivers who can wait for passengers on the road.
The Berlin Taxi guild has complained that the Berlin administration has not been fulfilling its duty of control with transportation companies like Uber. The head of the Berlin Taxi Guild, Leszek Nadolski, asserted that more than 200 taxi companies in Berlin had folded in the past three months due to competitive pressure.
Taxi drivers supported by Senate
The Berlin Senate has recently committed to protecting taxi drivers and their industry. Regine Günther (Greens), Berlin’s Traffic Senator, has openly opposed the Transport Minister’s plans and has demanded that Germany’s states be allowed to regulate digital transportation companies independently.