European protests against ride-hailing app Uber

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MILAN (AP) — Milan's taxis have been idle for five days to protest the ride-hailing app Uber, the latest European challenge to a technological advance against old business models.

Uber, a San Francisco startup, has been banned in Brussels and is under court scrutiny in Berlin. Milan's 5,000 taxi drivers are seeking similar curbs when representatives meet with Italy's transport minister Wednesday.

Alfonso Faccioli, one of the leaders of the wildcat protests, says Uber represents unfair competition to taxi drivers who pay at least 160,000 euros ($220,000) for a license. Drivers, he said, "are fighting to defend our livelihoods."

EU Commission vice president sees it otherwise. Neelie Kroes has expressed outrage at the Brussels court decision to ban Uber and impose 10,000-euro fines for offenders, saying it protects "a cartel."