After Uber started enrolling drivers in Ukraine earlier this month, Kyiv (Kiev) taxi drivers have begun voicing their concerns. Last week, as reported by Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA. they held a press conference under the slogan “The Klitschko-Uber collusion: A taxi at the price of a passenger’s life?” (Vitalii Klitschko is the mayor of Kyiv).
Not only do taxi drivers unions and associations see in Uber a threat to their jobs and to city coffers, they also suspect city authorities of having a secret agreement with Uber to allow unlicensed drivers to carry passengers. This will entail serious risks to passengers’ safety, taximen believe.
“No information about a car’s technical condition, a driver’s physical and mental health, his or her professional skills is required. Even worse, a passenger will pay for a service no one is responsible for,” the taximen representatives stated in a press release.
Kyiv taxi drivers are demanding to take part in the preparation of the draft bill which is being examined by the Ukrainian parliament.
“If a working group involving taxi drivers is not created by March 10, we will hold a nationwide conference to decide a strike,” said Vasiliy Popik, head of the Ukrainian Taxi Drivers Trade Union.
Government representatives met Uber representatives in December 2015, creating the impression that the Ukrainian government is supporting the US’ company’s market entry. “We’re looking forward to Uber in Ukraine,” then-economy minister Aivaras Abromavicius wrote on his Twitter.
The date of the service’s official launch in Ukraine remains unknown. Uber already operates in 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide.