“War” for Uber in Rhodes

“War” for Uber in Rhodes

Taxi drivers reportedly damaged a large number of cars due to unfair competition. Photo: Rhodiak

A local arrest is the tally so far after the heated controversy that erupted in Pink Thursday, between taxi drivers and a transport project mediation company that works with the Uber. According to a police announcement, the man was identified for his involvement in incidents involving damage and injury to someone associated with the company. The case against him includes offenses of criminal organization, disturbing public order, threat to commit crimes, dangerous assault and battery, damage to foreign property and threats.

“They can’t do justice to themselves”

“Taxi drivers smashed Uber cars and beat up drivers. Three people were hit, including one with a broken leg,” a person close to the incidents of physical assaults and vandalism of vehicles tells ‘K’. wishes to remain anonymous. According to testimonies in “K” as well as local media reports, a crowd of people – around 700 drivers – marched towards the company’s headquarters in protest. Some of them entered the premises causing damage amounting to several thousand euros to at least 10 cars for unfair competition. The intervention of the public prosecutor was immediate while the company filed a complaint.

According to the information, the transport mediation company that works with Uber started its operation on Tuesday and according to the same person who asked to speak anonymously to “K”, “from the first moment there were incidents, thugs in the street, while taxi drivers, they were illegally stopping drivers to check their details.”

“Taxi drivers cannot take justice into their own hands,” sources close to the company confide to “K”, which in its announcement speaks of a climate of terrorism reminiscent of the practices in Mykonos.

“In the past 24 hours, unimaginable acts of threats, beatings, blackmail and sabotage by an organized and guided group have occurred on the island of Rhodes, catalyzing all concepts of the rule of law and of legal economic activity,” the statement said. “We will not tolerate illegal actions by third parties against the people and property of our company. We will not accept the climate of terrorism they are trying to impose with their actions, which are reminiscent of those that took place on the Mykonos Island in March 2023”.

“From the first moment there were incidents, punches on the road, while taxi drivers illegally stopped drivers to check their information”, complains to “K” a source who asked to stay anonymous. Photo: Rhodiak.

“We condemn the incident, but we will not allow them to take our bread away from us”

“They weren’t strangers, let’s be honest,” Rhodes Taxi Owners Association president Theodosis Kastanidis told “K,” commenting on early reports of an “attack by strangers” and saying that there were no beatings, only vandalism. “We will suffer the consequences, there is no problem,” he said. “We condemn the incident, but we will not allow them to take our bread,” says Panagiotis Kontos, president of the Association of Pay Taxi Drivers of Rhodes. “I can no longer speak about what happened because the police are investigating, but we are vigilant,” he adds.

Mr Kontos claims that when looking at the mobile phone of a customer who had used the brokerage company from the airport, he saw that the charges were lower than the stipulated charge of 36 euros, which constitutes unfair competition in the sector. “We are drivers who work to earn a living, we wait for the summer to work for three months,” he says.

“They work like predators,” insists Mr Kastanidis. “We had the impression that they would come to cooperate with the taxis, but they charge minimal prices and rob customers via the taxi rank”, he says, while affirming that all the professionals on the island who are employed in transport (tourist buses, mini vans and rental cars with or without driver) oppose the operation of this particular society. “Rhodes taxi drivers have been rewarded for the quality of their services,” he adds.

“By the 2018 legislation, the operation of transport mediation companies was prohibited, but even after the law was amended in 2019, these companies were not active in Greece,” said the president of the Federation of Trade Unions. transport of Greece, Themistocles Amblas, known as “K”. According to Abla, the Rhodes-based company is the first nationwide to provide Uber-standard ride services, charging lower fares to passengers.
“The federation is against the existence of such brokerage companies which are in conflict with what the state has established and with the interests of the professional class of drivers who do not earn their living in any other way”, underlined Mr. Ablas, adding that passengers they should “beware” because drivers from brokerage companies do not have professional driving licenses and do not meet the conditions under which taxi drivers work.

Regarding the questioning of the legality of its operation, the company, in the press release it published, evokes “fake news”. “We categorically deny them and declare that: Our company is legally authorized and fully respects the institutional framework for its operation.”


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