Respecting the law, protecting customers

Regulators across the globe must ensure the respect of law and guarantee a level playing field for all in the taxi market – including self-proclaimed “ride-sharing” for-reward transport platforms, say global road transport employers’ and employees’ federations.

Cologne, Germany – The International Road Transport Union (IRU), representing taxi, bus, coach and truck companies worldwide, and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which unites trade unions representing transport workers across the globe, today appealed to regulators to closely scrutinise commercial transport services offered by self proclaimed “ride sharing” for reward transport platforms such as the Uber app. The two organisations, meeting in Cologne, stated that this would help to ensure that laws are fully respected and enforced, that customers are protected, and that all those working in or offering services in the taxi market enjoy fair competition.

Chairman of the IRU Taxi Group, Hubert Andela, said: “Taxis are one of the most dynamic and innovative parts of public transport. We are proud of the entrepreneurial spirit that our industry demonstrates when embracing the latest technologies such as smartphone apps for taxis. Yet, as a public transport service, taxis are subject to numerous regulatory obligations that guarantee the safety, security, service quality and rights of customers, including customers with disabilities. All those who want to offer similar services on this market in any country of the world must abide by the rules in force. The other option is the Wild West, where customers are at the mercy of cowboy operators who have no regard for the rule of law.”

Mac Urata, ITF Inland Transport Section Secretary, commented: “Taxi drivers play a vital link in the public transport chain. Unions are not against innovations, but if governments don’t catch up with what new technologies such as Uber are making possible, then we face a free for all, where all the existing passenger safeguards are lost and trained taxi drivers are de-skilled or the whole industry made-up of part-time drivers without labour rights. Trade unions worldwide have come together to challenge this development. We want regulators to do the same.”

The IRU and the ITF, together with the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), will work together in order to strengthen their cooperation by jointly addressing regulators, city authorities, customers’ organisations’ and other relevant stakeholders on issues related to self proclaimed “ride sharing” for reward transport platforms, as well as by joining forces in training and awareness-raising among taxi drivers on road safety, driver and customer security, services to customers with disabilities, and customer awareness.

Watch: Four things about Uber you wish you never knew 

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The International Road Transport Union (IRU) is the world road transport organisation, with an active membership of representative national trade associations. It upholds the interests of bus, coach, taxi and truck operators to ensure economic growth and prosperity via the sustainable mobility of people and goods by road worldwide.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a global federation representing some 700 transport trade unions in 150 countries and their over 4.5 million members.

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