January 18, 2016 10:41 am

Taxis in Budapest block traffic, demand ban on Uber

WATCH ABOVE: Traffic ground to a halt in one area of Budapest Monday thanks to an Uber protest.

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BUDAPEST, Hungary — More than 100 taxis blocked traffic in downtown Budapest on Monday, demanding a ban on Uber and other ride-hailing apps.

The yellow vehicles from several taxi companies blocked most lanes of a key intersection near St. Stephen’s Basilica in the Hungarian capital, causing traffic delays.

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Taxi drivers also went to the nearby offices of Budapest’s mayor to present a petition with their demands, but their meeting with Mayor Istvan Tarlos did not result in any immediate solutions.

Tarlos expressed his support for the “tax-paying Hungarian taxi drivers,” saying Uber did not comply with regulations.

“The capital city, however, has no official means … to ban or switch off Uber or exclude the ‘wild taxi drivers’ who do not respect the rules,” Tarlos said in a statement.

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Driver Zsolt Gelencser said Uber and similar apps were avoiding regulations and licensing issues that taxis had to comply with.

“We demand that Uber, as an app or as an activity, cease to exist,” Gelencser said, standing amid the taxis occupying most of the road. “They are applying a double standard. Nothing applies to them, while everything applies to us.”

Laszlo Pusztai, another taxi driver at the protest, estimated that Uber was taking away 50-60 percent of the rides of traditional taxis. “Unfortunately, it is working very well for them,” Pusztai said.

Uber says it has 1,200 drivers and 80,000 users in Budapest.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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