Maastricht taxi drivers are not at all happy with the arrival of Uber.Photo: Shutterstock/MOZCO Mateusz Szymanski

Taxi drivers working in Maastricht are not at all happy with the arrival of Uber. This is evident from a tour of TaxiPro along various taxi companies. They see Uber as an additional competitor that can gain a foothold in the Limburg capital, if enough drivers join the taxi platform.

Self-employed person Cyusa Guibert Ruhamanya, who has his own taxi company in Maastricht with Taxi Safari, sees the arrival of Uber with regret. “I’m not happy about it. It is of course yet another new competitor entering the market,” he says to TaxiPro. “As a small company you quickly become powerless.”

He points to the current situation in Amsterdam. “I hear bad stories about Uber from my colleagues there,” says Ruhamanya. “They often drive below the price, I have been told. If you drive for Uber, I think you will fall between two stools in no time. It is of course a free choice, but I expect that drivers who decide to drive for Uber will meet the same fate as our colleagues in Amsterdam.”

Availability Taxi entrepreneur Sven Boonen, owner of Taxi Frenske, is also not at all happy with the arrival of the American taxi platform. “It is of course fantastic for the customer. Uber is fast and cheap. However, everything stands or falls with the number of available drivers. If a hundred drivers say they will not join Uber, you see in practice that half of them do. In addition, Maastricht is of course a small city. If enough drivers start driving for Uber, I predict difficulties for local taxi companies.”

Cyusa Guibert Ruhamanya has already made the decision: “I will not join Uber.” The self-employed person from Maastricht does not think that Uber poses a direct threat to him. “Maastricht does not have the kind of tourism that quickly uses such platforms. In addition, this city has a lot of wealthy residents, all of whom have their own car. Also, due to the current economic conditions, it is not the best time to enter the market. There is currently little to earn.”

TEFAF Uber announced last week that it was expanding to Maastricht. The originally American taxi platform has recently seen a strong increase in demand for taxi rides in the Limburg capital. “This is based, among other things, on conversations with local taxi drivers and the increased number of times the app is opened in this region,” Uber said last week.

Both Guibert Ruhamanya and Boonen do not think that Uber will be introduced now, because the Maastricht taxi industry cannot meet the increasing demand for taxi rides. “The taxi ranks are always full of Maastricht taxi drivers,” says Boonen. “These are all local taxi companies that come from the area. It is only different during peak times, such as during carnival or the TEFAF (art fair). But otherwise we can handle the demand for rides just fine.”

Guibert Ruhamanya recognizes himself in the picture Boonen paints. “There is no understaffing here at all. We often stand still, all hotels have enough taxi companies that drive for them and the target group transport is carried out by large local companies that have been active here for more than thirty years. Around midnight it is often busy for the entry market, but that is only a snapshot of half an hour. We have no shortage of taxi drivers here,” concludes Guibert Ruhamanya.

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