Rabat - Hundreds of taxi drivers gathered outside the Moroccan Labor Union (UMT) headquarters in Casablanca on December 16 to protest against the operation of American company Uber in Morocco.
Rabat – Hundreds of taxi drivers gathered outside the Moroccan Labor Union (UMT) headquarters in Casablanca on December 16 to protest against the operation of American company Uber in Morocco.
Ever since the car service company Uber launched in Casablanca last July, there has been friction between Uber’s contracted drivers and the city’s taxi drivers, who have not accepted Uber’s presence.
Taxi drivers arrived at the UMT with signs affixed to their vehicles that read “Uber out!” to protest their competitor’s services and called for the implementation of stricter regulations governing the sector, according to Moroccan media outlets.
Around 600 drivers of small and grand taxis gathered to demonstrate their anger against the deteriorating conditions for drivers, unfair competition by some tourist companies, and clandestine transport, Le360 reported on site.
“Better late than never. This protest is a warning. We are not in direct competition with Uber, but we want them, and other similar services and illegal carriers, to produce the document certifying authorization to operate from the Ministry of Equipment, Transport and Logistics or from local and regional authorities,” said Kardoudi Hamid, the Deputy Regional Secretary of the grand taxi department.
Uber continues to offer its taxi-finding services to users via their mobile application, despite warnings from the Wilaya of Casablanca, which accused the company of operating illegally last August.
According to the same source, Casablanca authorities had agreed last month to “overcome all activities that violate the laws in the transport sector,” stressed Mohamed Fadel, Director of Communications at the Wilaya.
Nonetheless, according to the taxi drivers’ protest, nothing has been done, and Uber remains more active than ever and is spreading quickly across Morocco.
Uber announced on December 8 a decrease of 40 percent in prices of its UberX vehicle services, which has allegedly forced taxi drivers to stand up and denounce the move.
Meanwhile, Uber responded to the protest, allegedly agreeing to furnish the authorities with the necessary permits.
“We remain committed to providing quality services in Casablanca and we are at the disposal of the authorities for any application,” Meryem Belqziz, Director of Uber Morocco, said.
Casablanca became the 328th city worldwide to offer Uber services. The US company is worth over $50 billion.