I suppose that I should look on the bright side in reading this story; maybe as a takeaway, I can be comforted by the fact that certain American cities don’t have a monopoly on perpetrating outrages against their citizens and the free market. But I confess to believing that any such comfort is of the cold variety:
A court in Brussels has banned Uber in the Belgian and European Union capital, promising to fine the ride-sharing service 10,000 euros every time it violates the order.
The court based its decision on the fact that UberPOP drivers don’t have taxi licenses allowing them to ferry passengers in Brussels, according to Tech.eu. The case against Uber came about following “complaints from traditional taxi operators who are not in favor of competition and consumer choice and would like to see their lucrative business protected by the government,” the site reported with a healthy bit of editorializing.
The “healthy bit of editorializing” was, of course, completely and entirely accurate. Government officials used their power to protect the interests of a cartel, and act against the public interest in the process. Here’s hoping that municipal elections occur in Brussels soon, and that the public expresses its outrage over this turn of events. More on this issue, including additional completely and entirely accurate “editorializing”:
Neelie Kroes, the EU’s digital commissioner, said the court’s decision was “crazy” and “outrageous”.
“This decision … is not about protecting or helping passengers – it’s about protecting a taxi cartel,” Ms Kroes told the Financial Times.
“If Brussels authorities have a problem with Uber they should find a way to help them comply with standards. Slamming the door in Uber’s face doesn’t solve anything.”
It ought to go without saying that the more such outrageous stories crop up, the greater the proof that services like Uber are not only convenient, but necessary. Taxicab cartels, wherever they pop up, are out to roger their customers however they can. They deserve to be punished and scared into behaving better, and companies like Uber can help that process along.