Late last year, Prague taxi drivers made headlines with protests against Uber and other ride-sharing platforms that slowed traffic on some central Prague streets to a crawl.
But in March, the situation seemed to come to an amicable resolution when Prime Minister Andrej Babiš directly intervened. That resulted in a new agreement between the government and Uber that would require its drivers to become licensed and registered, putting them in the same playing field as the taxi drivers.
It’s been quiet on the anti-Uber (and other ride-sharing service) front since that announcement, but it now seems that Prague taxi drivers are still seething.
And next month, says an “inside source” that has spoken to local tabloid Blesk, taxi drivers in Prague are preparing their biggest demonstration yet.
According Blesk, the taxi drivers have learned from previous failures during past protests, which saw long lanes of slow-moving vehicles clogging up vital Prague thoroughfares like Wilsonova, which runs through the center of the city, and Evropská, which leads from Václav Havel Airport into central Prague.
This time, Prague taxi drivers are preparing a full blockade using their vehicles that would completely halt all traffic moving through selected streets in the center of the Czech capital. The drivers have been inspired by recent protests in Spain that used similar tactics.
The date of the planned protest, and which Prague streets might be targeted, were not revealed.
According to the Association of Czech Taxi Drivers (SČT), the March agreement between the Czech government and Uber, which requires Uber drivers to acquire a relevant business license and register to pay taxes, does not go far enough.
The SČT now insists that all cars be clearly labelled as taxi vehicles, as well as carry taximeters, the specialized devices that calculate passenger fares (and have become redundant with Uber and other mobile apps).
“The situation is still unresolved,” the source told Blesk. “It will really be the biggest protest.”