Uber is facing its worst gridlock.


Thousands of taxi drivers turned European city centers into parking lots Wednesday  in protest of the ride-sharing service company. Cabbies complain that app-based services like Uber have an unfair advantage because they don’t face the same regulations as licensed taxi drivers. U.S. cabbies have made the same complaint.

Traffic came to a standstill in London on Wednesday as black cabbies staged a widespread strike against the Uber taxi-hailing app. (Casey Capachi/The Washington Post)


It’s been a tough month for San Francisco-based Uber, which has rapidly expanded in the District and cities across the U.S. and Europe.   Just last week Virginia officials ordered the company and the ride-sharing service Lyft, to stop operating in the state.

Demonstrations Wednesday to protest the mobile car-hailing services took place in Paris, London and Madrid.



Central London was gridlocked as the taxi strike took hold, taking over top tourist destinations like Trafalgar Square.  In France, taxi drivers blocked a highway outside Paris and thousands of Parisian cabbies blocked the Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports to prevent the private car services from taking any passengers, according to news reports.

Cabbies have complained about Uber drivers having an advantage because they don’t face the same licensing and permitting requirements as cab drivers.  Across the U.S. policymakers have been dealing with how to regulate the new services.

In the Washington area, Virginia has fined the company and last Thursday the top official with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles sent a cease and desist letter to Uber and Lyft.  In Maryland, Uber is appealing a decision by a judge that said it must file an application to operate as a for-hire carrier.

In the District, the D.C. Council is considering legislation that would allow them to operate as long as they follow certain requirements.

For more photos of the protests that brought London to a standstill see this post.