“Let’s call an Uber” is a phrase commonly heard on weekends throughout America. Whether it’s solely for conservation of gas or to avoid the hassle of finding a place to park, Uber has become an extremely relevant mode of transportation for many individuals in America. However, this is not the case in other nations, such as Italy.
Although in the United States the development of Uber may have provoked competition between car services and therefore stimulated the economy, a court in Rome on Friday, April 7, argued that the service is interfering with Italy’s traditional taxi service. This is causing drivers to lose money rapidly. They claim that it is unfair because taxi driving is a public service, while Uber is a privately owned company. Taxi drivers have been endlessly protesting in the street, shouting that Uber’s operation is a “savage liberalization” of the sector, and that taxi drivers cannot compete with Uber drivers who do not have to deal with the same costs and regulations as them. Taxi drivers have refused to meet with Uber to try to find a compromise on multiple occasions.
Uber replied to these protests stating “We do not want to think that a country like Italy is not yet ready for a reality like ours. We will work endlessly to allow thousands of professional drivers to continue working through the Uber app and simultaneously enable all citizens to be able to freely choose how to navigate.” Uber is looking to repeal the order and halt the ban with a suspension of the ruling; however if they do not follow through with this or end operations in 10 days, they will have to pay a hefty fine each day following for illegally operating in the country.
Italy as a whole is a very traditional, old-school country, and it may be difficult for them to see that transportation is becoming more high-tech. The recent ruling to do away with Uber is based on a 25-year-old law. I believe that the nation would highly benefit from this new form of transportation if they gave it another chance as an open-minded country. Uber provides customers with fixed rates, and easy access for payment through credit cards. This avoids the inconvenience of carrying cash, which is needed to pay for taxi rides. I think Uber has a strong argument when it says that individuals should be able to choose how they want to get from place to place. If taxi drivers feel their jobs are being compromised by this new technology, they should either develop a new appeal to bring in customers, or switch to driving for Uber, which they may surprisingly find to be beneficial. In order to progress technologically at a similar rate to countries such as the United States, Italian taxi drivers should make an effort to compromise with the new car-company, instead of banning their services completely.