Uber launches its taxi services in Liege, Namur, and Mons

Since this Wednesday, February 14th, the Uber application has been available in three large Walloon cities: Liège, Namur, and Mons. Ten years after its establishment in Flanders and Brussels, the American company of independent drivers is expanding its services in the south of the country. However, the service only allows you to book ‘traditional’ taxis.

A few months ago, the Walloon government paved the way for the arrival of these new players with a new decree regulating the market between drivers of light commercial vehicles (LCV) – often car rental services with drivers, such as Uber and professional taxis.

First breakthrough

However, this legislation is not yet in force. So, based on existing texts and while awaiting implementation orders and practical arrangements planned for the end of 2024, Uber is making a first breakthrough in Liège, Namur, and Mons with its UberTaxi service.

“We welcome licensed taxi drivers to our platform and offer them access to our app to access customers to whom they might not have access. I am thinking of young people and international tourists,” specifies Laurent Slits, head of Uber operations in Belgium. Obviously, this service will not be free for drivers. Uber receives a commission on each trip.

Simple formula

The operating procedure is simple: traditional taxi drivers register on the famous platform. Trips are ordered directly via the app, where an estimated price is displayed. The taxi takes care of the trip, and the price of the journey, controlled via a taximeter, is paid via the app.

Uber has waited ten years to deploy its application in Wallonia. The company had to wait for Wallonia to reform its legislation. This has been done since September 28th, 2023. That day, the Walloon Parliament adopted a draft decree reforming the taxi sector to promote an opening of the market and integrate platforms such as Uber, Bolt, or Hitch.

High demand

As in Brussels, the text states that “station” taxis and “street” taxis share customers. Thus, to avoid unfair competition, drivers of online platforms will have to share common rules with taxis: municipal licenses to obtain, certificate of capacity for all drivers, identical quotas, etc.

And apparently, the demand is high. “We saw very high demand in Wallonia, with thousands of customers opening the app to see if the service was available in these three cities,” explains Slits.

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