Professional transport organisations and taxi drivers have demanded that the government apply the relevant laws to all transporters, including Uber drivers.

Representatives told a press conference on Tuesday that taxi drivers protesting in the street despite the cold weather want the government to make clear that Hungarian laws apply to everyone.

The Budapest Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the National Association of Transport Businesses and the National Taxi Association have asked the prime minister to appoint an authority to coordinate activities and issue fines for abusers. Around 500 drivers working for ride-hailing service Uber lack the licences and equipment necessary to carry out such activities, and can thereby defraud the treasury, they said. Online access to Uber should suspended until they comply with regulations, they added.

Head of the National Taxi Organisation, Zoltan Metal, said Uber may have a price advantage but it is not legal. The national transport authority stated last year that the activities linked to Uber are unlawful in Hungary, he added. Uber does not have registered employees and the drivers lack relevant tax numbers. According to certain estimates, Uber deprives the treasury of 3 billion forints (EUR 9.52m) each year, he said.

Head of the transport department at the Budapest Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Zoltan Dudas, called Uber “dangerous” because it highlights how income can be made tax-free. He added that once Uber destroys Hungarian businesses services would become much dearer.

Taxi company Fotaxi said it would sign the joint statement issued by taxi professional associations and unions. The company expressed hope that its 1,000-plus employees and 1,000 contracted taxi drivers can rely on laws being applied to all.

The deputy state secretary for taxation at the economy ministry said that Uber drivers could expect more roadside checks, and sanctions against violators will increase. Zoltan Pankucsi told a press conference that practically all Uber drivers failed to meet the regulations and the current sanction is up to 2 million forints.

Taxi drivers continued to demonstrate against Uber in Budapest on Tuesday.

The taxi drivers started their demonstration early on Monday, snarling traffic on a section of Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Street, a thoroughfare in the city centre. Demonstrators told police they wished to continue the protest until midnight on Wednesday.

Photo: MTI


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