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UberPop forbidden in Brussels: what’s next?

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The Dutch-speaking court of Brussels judged UberPop was illegal and had to stop its service within 21 days. This may seem at first sight as a victory of official taxi lobbies. But this may also be considered a defeat for consumers. How the competitive landscape will look like in the coming months is the big question mark. Let’s first have a look at UberPop Pro’s and Con’s.

UberPro: the Pro’s

  • Approximately half the price of traditional taxis
  • Price is known in advance and no money is exchanged
  • Very easy to order a taxi
  • Traceability (of the driver, of the waiting time, of the position of the car)

UberPop : The Con’s

  • Drivers are not professionals
  • Legal aspects (insurance, taxes, …)
  • Hard to make a living as a UberPop driver
  • Uber profits don’t stay in the country

Prediction for the near future of UberPop (in Brussels and elsewhere)

The first thing that might happen is that the decision of the Brussels Dutch-speaking Court (which follows a similar decision by the Court of Paris), may be taken as examples by other Courts in Europe to implicitly justify their judgments. That may well be the beginning of the end for UberPop or, as Winston Chruchill said, the end of the beginning.

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

– Winston Churchill

This is the beginning of the end for UberPop because the way UberPop currently operates may be over for good.

But this may well be also the end of the beginning of the “old” UberPop as we knew it. No one can deny that Uber has succeeded very well in moving the frontiers of taxi regulations. No one can deny today that the rules that applied in this sector were outdated and needed a profound reshaping. This is what we can consider the biggest success of UberPop: massive consumer adoption of UberPop was the best lobbying action one could imagine. Under such circumstances, even regulatory bodies couldn’t deny the need to change the rules of the game. This will be done in the coming future, enabling a comeback of Uber under conditions that regular taxis will not be able to fight.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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