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Uber banned: Brussels taxis remain up to 122% more expensive.

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On the website of the European Commission Neelie Kroes attacked publicly minister Brigitte Grouwels for the “crazy court decision to ban Uber in Brussels” (read more about Djump and UberPop business models in our article published a few days ago)  Consumers will keep paying high fares. But are prices of Brussels taxis really outrageously expensive ? The answer is in the article.

Let’s start with Kroes’ words on her website:

I am outraged at the decision today by a Brussels court to ban Uber, the taxi-service app.

The court says Uber drivers should have €10,000 fines for every pick-up they attempt. Are they serious? What sort of legal system is this?

This decision is not about protecting or helping passengers – it’s about protecting a taxi cartel. The relevant Brussels Regional Minister is Brigitte Grouwels. Her title is “Mobility Minister”. Maybe it should be “anti-Mobility Minister”. She is even proud of the fact that she is stopping this innovation and protecting this cartel.

It isn’t protecting jobs Madame, it is just annoying people!

Brussels taxis among the most expensive in Europe, behind Luxembourg and The Netherlands

Consumers are outraged to witness the efforts of Minister Grouwels to impede competition and protect high fares. So the testimonies online. Yet no one has ever proved that the fares are actually higher. Here is the evidence.

We have compiled prices of the main cities in continental Europe and the result is pretty obvious. Brussels taxis are up to 122% more expensive than in other countries. Yet they remain less expensive for a 5km ride than in Luxembourg and The Netherlands.

In figures, we see that Brussels Taxis are respectively 53%, 11%, 16%, 40% and 122% more expensive than in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugual. Luxembourg and The Netherlands remain respectively 19% and 10% more expensive (see graphs below).

Yet it may seem normal. Luxembourg people are in the end richer than Belgium inhabitants, right ?

Brussels taxi clients are the worse off in Europe .. behind their Dutch counterparts

Everything become clearer when you compare GDP per capita figures and the differences with respect to Belgium.

Basically the analysis says that taxis in Luxembourg are 19% more expensive; but on average people earn 56% than in Belgium. In the Netherlands they pay 10% and are only 8% richer.

For the countries where it’s cheaper the gap with Brussels is just huge : people in France pay 35% less than in Brussels for a 5km ride and are only 10% poorer. In Germany it’s even reversed. People are richer than in Belgium and pay 11% less than in Brussels.


Compared to GDP per capita, Brussels taxis are amongond most expensive taxis (behind The Netherlands) in our panel. They will soon become the most expensive ones after the fare increase scheduled in May 2014 : +11% increase.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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