Global taxi network Uber has entered into talks with Luxembourg’s government about operating in the Grand Duchy.
The platform, which is already operational in Paris, Brussels and Berlin, among other major European cities, has struggled to get a roll-out in Luxembourg because of strict regulation on taxis and rental cars with driver.
“Tens of thousands of people have tried getting an Uber in Luxembourg without the service being available yet,” an Uber spokesperson said, adding: “Initial talks with policymakers have been very constructive and we are working on clarifying certain points to ensure the high demand for Uber in Luxembourg can be met soon.”
What’s holding Uber back in Luxembourg?
First, the Luxembourg’s new taxi reform, which came into force on September 1, presents a number of barriers to the service. Among the obstacles for Uber will be the creation of new licensed zones, a limited number of licences and stronger surveillance. On top of that another regulation, modified in 2015, presents a further obstacle for Uber: It was then decided that rental cars with driver can’t operate any rides under one hour – bearing in mind that journeys are often much shorter in Luxembourg. Uber, if on the market, would have to refuse any rides under one hour.
Uber Technologies Inc is an American multinational online transportation network company. Founded in 2009, it enables customers with smartphones to make a taxi request, which is automatically sent to the nearest Uber driver. Uber drivers use their own personal cars for a variety of services. The firm is reportedly interested in introducing regular taxi service Uber taxi and Uber black, an executive chauffeur service in Luxembourg.
What the government says
Infrastructure Minister François Bausch said that the government is not opposed to services like Uber in general, but he didn’t want drivers working on the black or working as independent contractors without social security benefits.
If a solution can be found with Uber, Bausch does not rule out Uber one day coming to Luxembourg.
President of the Luxembourg taxi federation Olivier Gallé raised concerns about passenger safety if Uber were to enter the Luxembourg market as the situation on who insures the customer remains unclear. Furthermore, he did not think Uber would help reduce rates, explaining they are high because of Luxembourg’s statutory labour costs.