Taxi drivers in Europe are refusing to pick up passengers and instead have parked their cars in the streets to protest one of the fastest-growing private tech companies in the world.
The drivers hailing from London, Madrid, Paris and other cities are angry with transportation services like Uber — as well as the existing regulations in place — because they must adhere to strict pricing and licensing requirements, while those from Uber aren’t subject to similar laws.
The protests are causing quite the traffic jam in London:
— BBC Newsbeat (@BBCNewsbeat) June 11, 2014
The Next Web notes how Uber has actually seen a 850 percent increase in signups today, thanks to all the attention on the company. Coincidentally, Uber also used the day of protests to launch UberTAXI in London, a service that will bring Uber’s platform to London’s Black Taxis — its fourth offering in the city.
San Francisco-based Uber is fresh off a whopping $1.2 billion round that it raised last week at a $17 billion valuation — the most-ever for a private tech company. The four-year-old company is now operating in in 128 cities in 37 countries.
Meanwhile in Seattle, negotiations are ongoing between taxi industry stakeholders, those from Lyft and Uber, in addition to City officials. Mayor Ed Murray brought together the groups in order to reach a new regulatory agreement that will allow Uber and Lyft to operate in Seattle legally.
Sources tell us that an agreement is “close,” but there appear to be a few kinks to be worked out. Murray had previously said that if no deal was reached by Monday, he’d issue a cease-and-desist to Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. It’s Wednesday, and that has not happened yet.