Brussels’ taxi drivers plan to paralyze city on the 27th
The Brussels taxi drivers are angry and plan to paralyze the city on Tuesday the 27th of March. They want Brussels Mobility Minister Pascal Smet (sp.a) to resign.
The plan is to block the entire inner city, circulation will be very difficult as a consequence. But the angry taxi drivers will also try to block the ring road around Brussels and the access to Brussels Airport.
Minister under fire
Representatives of the taxi drivers had a last meeting with Minister Pascal Smet yesterday but they left disappointed. They claim the Minister is “very arrogant and doesn’t listen to what they have to say”.
“For us the minister has to resign”, says Sam Bouchal, Secretary General of Febet, the Belgian federation of taxi drivers. Other federations and unions also ask for his departure.
The problem is that the new taxi plan for Brussels proposed by the minister gives professional Uber drivers the same status as normally registered taxi drivers. They are also concerned about the abolition of the numerus clausus indicating the exact number of taxis allowed in the Brussels region. The license will be delivered for the driver, no longer for the car.
“Mister Smet behaves in a very arrogant way”, says Philippe Lescot from CSC Transcom, representing some 1.000 taxi drivers. “Hard actions will follow, we will ask them to remain calm and protest with dignity, but we can’t guarantee the situation won’t explode.”
The taxi drivers realize that this action won’t be popular: “We apologize already for the inconvenience, but this is a matter of life or death”, Sam Bouchal insists. “It’s the minister who doesn’t want to listen.” Members of his cabinet didn’t want to comment and were stressing that talks will continue.
People living in or coming to Brussels on Tuesday the 27th have to be prepared for traffic chaos. Belgian taxi drivers will be joined by European colleagues fearing that the new legislation for Brussels would become an example in other European cities like Nice, Marseille or London.