Portugal taxi drivers vow more disruption over ride-hailing

LISBON, Portugal – Portuguese taxi drivers vowed Monday to prolong traffic disruption in their protest against ride-hailing apps after a meeting with government officials failed to yield an agreement.

Several thousand taxis snarled traffic in the Portuguese capital in the latest European protest against ride-hailing apps. Representatives of the protesters met with government transport officials but said later there was no breakthrough and taxi drivers would continue to block traffic on some roads at least through Tuesday.

Portuguese taxi drivers complain that companies such as Uber and Cabify aren’t covered by the same tax, training and safety regulations as they are. They want the government to adopt specific legislation for ride-hailing services.

Other European Union countries have also witnessed demonstrations by traditional taxi drivers against the increasingly popular ride-hailing services.

Two labour groups representing Portugal’s around 13,000 taxi drivers organized the long line of slow-moving taxis that snaked through Lisbon in the second such protest in six months.

Hundreds of police were on standby in case of violence, and sporadic scuffles broke out as taxi drivers confronted vehicles they claimed were working with Uber. Police arrested at least two protesters after a car was smashed. Riot police were deployed on roads around Lisbon’s international airport after some taxi drivers abandoned plans to head to Parliament and tried to block access routes to terminals.