With sharp words, well-known representatives of the German taxi industry have responded to Uber’s announcement to introduce its own taxi app in Hamburg and Berlin.
On Monday, the US company had announced to offer an app „UberTaxi“ in Berlin and Hamburg in addition to the app „UberBlack“ (commissioning to hired cars) and „UberPop“ (commissioning to privateer). Anyone who orders a vehicle via this app gets a Hamburg or Berlin taxi and pays the regular taxi fares. Uber attracts new customers with a 20-percent discount on the fare.
As several drivers report to Taxi Times, Uber employees canvass the stops since Monday in the two German cities and try to persuade taxi drivers and operators to participate.
The taxi industry responds very sceptically to the new Uber offer. „Uber will not be able to cleanse itself of its sins with the announcements,“ commented Frank Kuhle from the Taxi München eG for example.
The Federal Association of the German Taxi and Rental Car Industry (BZP) regards it as an „obvious distraction“. The wolf has put on the sheepskin, said BZP Managing Director Thomas Grätz to Taxi Times. „The drivers will not share the bed with someone who previously declared war and called him an asshole.“
BZP President Michael Müller does not regard the new offer UberTaxi as a change in strategy, because they continue to offer the court prohibited applications „UberBlack“ and „UberPop“.
Hermann Waldner, head of the Berlin Taxi Centre warns exactly against that. „Once the company Uber were defeated in court on several occasions by trying to commission taxi trips to private drivers without a license, passenger transport license and appropriate insurance cover, they now look directly for taxi drivers / operators who drive by Uber orders,“ Waldner said in a statement. It could be assumed that the company Uber has the objective to commission these trips to private drivers as soon as it is legally possible. „These tours would then be lost forever for the taxi industry.“
Hans-Peter Katz, Chairman of the Frankfurt Taxi Federation takes the same line. „Uber will only collect a customer database such the myTaxi app and then use them themselves. At best, the taxi driver will be offered UberPop trips over the short or long term and therefore ask for the ignoring of the fare obligation.“
Richard Leipold, one of the first plaintiffs against Uber, does not believe in the sudden purification of the company either: „It would be too good to be true, would it mean that Uber now wants to follow the German laws and regulations. If Uber now wants to become an entirely normal taxi commissioning centre, I ask myself how the profit expectations of the investors are to be satisfied.
Christian Hess by the Munich taxi centre IsarFunk fears that despite this announcement the fight against the taxi will continue at the same time. „The war chest is well filled and unfortunately, there are many, also very influential politicians in Germany, who look through the Uber glasses.“
However, Dirk Schütte, Chairman of the Hamburg centre Hansafunk demonstrated great serenity: „The challenges us not a bit. No one takes anyone seriously any more who presents a new offer every day. And if this new offer will come indeed, then it will be a lead balloon. The drivers will not let themselves be exploited, and passengers will not be prepared, to fill the pockets of grasshoppers with money.“