New Uber service to use licensed taxi drivers

Controversial taxi service Uber plans to launch a new taxi service in the Netherlands after the summer for which only licensed, professional taxi drivers will be hired.

The name of the new service has not been announced yet, but the service is reminiscent of UberZ, which will be launched in Brussels soon. Uber will announce a concrete proposal for the service in September, a spokesperson for the American alternative taxi service told the Volkskrant.

Though the new service will hire only licensed taxi drivers, Uber still plans to deviate from a number of the existing rules. The service will not use the mandatory blue license plate and is also considering not using the mandatory on-board computer, as the Uber app does more or less the same thing. Prices will be 20 to 30 percent lower than ordinary taxis.

Uber currently has three services running in the Netherlands - UberBlack, UberLux and the illegal UberPop. The new service will be something between UberPop, in which individuals use their own cars to transport passengers, and the more luxurious and professional UberBlack. The new service will not replace UberPop, the spokesperson said to the Volkskrant. UberPop taxis are still active in the Netherlands, though the app is currently closed to new users.

This new service seems to be a kind of compromise with the Dutch government, with whom Uber has been at odds since the launch of UberPop in June last year. Both the company and UberPop drivers have been fined thousands of euros by the Environment and Transport Inspectorate. In April an Uber employee was arrested for not cooperating with the investigation into UberPop. Licensed taxi drivers have attacked UberPop drivers in several cities in the Netherlands.

Uber wants to work along with Infrastructure and Environment State Secretary Wilma Mansveld's plans to experiment with new forms of taxi services that are currently illegal. Earlier this year the State Secretary announced that the rules for taxis will be eased to make innovation easier within the sector.