Uber brings ride-shar­ing to Greece

Kathimerini English - - Focus - DIM­I­TRA MANIFAVA

Smart­phone and tablet app Uber has ar­rived in Greece, al­low­ing non-pro­fes­sional driv­ers to turn their pri­vate cars into taxis and of­fer trans­port ser­vices, de­spite hav­ing drawn a strong re­ac­tion from cab­bies.

The ride-shar­ing ser­vice through Uber is likely to harm es­tab­lished taxi busi­nesses as it rep­re­sents a di­rect form of com­pe­ti­tion, es­pe­cially if it comes with the high level of ser­vice it ad­ver­tises, in­clud­ing an ob­jec­tive method for cal­cu­lat­ing fares and round-the-clock op­er­a­tion.

Uber is plan­ning to de­velop three types of ser­vices in Athens: UberX, for non-pro­fes­sional driv­ers with a four­door medium-sized or large car, UberBlack, for driv­ers with a pro­fes­sional li­cense who own a black ve­hi­cle or SUV (for more lux­u­ri­ous rides), and UberTaxi for cab driv­ers who also own a taxi.

It re­mains to be seen how the first cat­e­gory, in par­tic­u­lar, will op­er­ate, given that Greece’s leg­isla­tive frame­work for­bids such a ser­vice by non­pro­fes­sional driv­ers. There is of course a coun­ter­ar­gu­ment to that: How of­ten are pro­fes­sional driv­ers ac­tu­ally checked and how many il­le­gal taxis op­er­ate in Athens? In fact Uber in­tends to ex­pand beyond the cap­i­tal to ma­jor ci­ties such as Thes­sa­loniki and Pa­tra, as well as to tourism des­ti­na­tions such Rhodes and San­torini.

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