Taxify (Bolt) is considering leaving Ostrava, Olomouc, Pilsen and České Budějovice and will remain only in Prague. The reason is systematic fines on the part of the authorities, but also intimidation, physical assault and damage to driver property and ongoing enforcement, the company said on Monday. The action of Taxify in regional cities is forbidden by the precautionary measures; last week, however, the court has so far unlawfully banned the service without complying with the legal rules even in Prague. Taxify traffic has never yet been interrupted.
The Estonian company has expanded its operations to Ostrava, Olomouc, Pilsen and České Budějovice this July. According to the Taxify boss for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Romana Sysla, however, it has to cope with the bad offices in these cities as well as with the competition.
They call for a change in legislation
“We will not let the drivers who use our application repeatedly be physically and verbally attacked. We do not want to continue to expose them to these attacks, so we are very seriously thinking of leaving these cities,” he said.
In the autumn, considering the Taxify activities in the regional cities, the court ordered a preliminary injunction, according to which the company did not comply with the Czech taxi law. However, the company is accused of being solely responsible for the development of the application and is not the operator or intermediary of the transport services. Taxify continues to run in the towns, for which it has been charged with execution, which is around 590 thousand crowns.
Last week, the Municipal Court in Prague banned Taxify even in Prague, until it meets all the legal conditions for taxis. However, the decision is still unfair, and the firm is planning to appeal against it. The service will continue to operate in Prague.
Taxi drivers protests
“We want the Czech Republic to be among the countries that want to develop innovative ways of transportation. We are convinced that we must be able to accept this new progressive legislation. In recent days, for example, legislation in Slovakia has been adopted, which includes modern technology, deregulates the passenger transportation market and allows a free choice of service for the consumer. Their new law was inspired by Estonia and came up with a compromise solution for new platforms and existing traditional taxis. It sets up simple, clear and consistent requirements that all drivers have to meet,” Sysel has said.
Taxify began in the Czech Republic in August 2015. In Prague, according to company data, the application uses several hundred active drivers. In other cities, the service has started operating this very July.
Prague taxi drivers in protest against Uber and Taxify have already blocked the traffic several times. Uber argued that it is not a taxi driver service, but that it mediates a joint venture within a shared economy. The taxi drivers do not agree.