The Hungarian taxi drivers have a history of resistance and have successfully influenced changes in laws to their advantage. They were able to push Uber out of Hungary in 2016 and have since been targeting Estonian ride-hailing company, Bolt, to leave the country. This article will discuss the ongoing conflict between Hungarian taxi drivers and Bolt, and the measures they are taking to make the company withdraw from Hungary.
Taxi drivers' demands against Bolt
Zoltán Metál, the chairman of Hungary's National Taxi Federation, has submitted a plea to the municipal leadership of Budapest to revoke all licenses issued to Bolt HTX Ltd and its contracted drivers. The main issue is Bolt's trademark, as Mr. Metál believes they should display both the words 'Bolt Taxi' and the accompanying illustration. Additionally, Bolt's trademark colors do not align with their displays, which Mr. Metál sees as unfair treatment compared to Hungarian taxi companies. He argues that Bolt does not pay taxes in Hungary, giving them an advantage over local taxi services.
Despite complaints from Hungarian service providers, there has been no clear response from Budapest's chief clerk, Tamás Számadó. It is unlikely that the city will take decisive action against Bolt, especially considering the government's majority in parliament and their ability to modify rules regarding taxi providers. This was the same reason why Uber left Hungary in 2016.
Impact on taxi services and fares
Budapest currently has ten taxi service providers and a total of 5,500 taxis, while there are 9,500 taxis in all of Hungary. In March, taxi fares increased significantly, causing a slight decline in demand. However, this decrease was short-lived, lasting only 2-3 weeks. Zoltán Metál stated that taxi drivers do not wish for further fare increases at the moment.
The conflict between Hungarian taxi drivers and Bolt continues, with taxi drivers demanding the withdrawal of licenses issued to the ride-hailing company. While the response from Budapest remains uncertain and no concrete action has been taken, it is clear that the taxi drivers are determined to protect their interests and maintain their position in the Hungarian market.
Questions & Answers
Why did Uber leave Hungary in 2016? Uber left Hungary in 2016 due to changes in the rules concerning taxi providers, implemented by the government.
What power do Hungarian taxi drivers have? Hungarian taxi drivers have demonstrated their power and influence in the past. In 1990, when fuel prices were drastically raised, the taxi drivers paralyzed traffic in the country, causing chaos and nearly resulting in the fall of the government at the time.
What is the current mission of Hungarian taxi drivers? The current mission of Hungarian taxi drivers is to sabotage the Estonian ride-hailing service called Bolt in order to make them leave Hungary.
What actions have been taken against Bolt by Hungarian taxi drivers? Zoltán Metál, the chairman of Hungary's National Taxi Federation, has submitted a plea to the municipal leadership of Budapest to withdraw all licenses issued for Bolt HTX Ltd and its contracted drivers. Mr. Metál believes Bolt should not have only the words "Bolt Taxi" on their displays, but also the illustration. He also raised concerns about Bolt's use of colors in their trademark.
Do Bolt and other Hungarian taxi companies have the same rights and obligations? Zoltán Metál argues that Bolt and other Hungarian taxi companies do not have similar rights and obligations. For example, Bolt does not pay taxes in Hungary, which puts traditional taxi companies at a disadvantage.
Is Budapest likely to take decisive action against Bolt? It is unlikely that Budapest will take decisive action against Bolt. Mr. Metál mentioned that complaints about Bolt's trademark have been sent to Budapest's chief clerk, but no clear answer has been received. The government, with its 2/3rd majority in the parliament, has the power to modify rules concerning taxi providers.
How many taxi service providers are there in Budapest? Currently, Budapest has ten taxi service providers.
How many taxis are there in Hungary? In Hungary, there are 9,500 taxis, while in Budapest alone, there are 5,500 taxis.
Has there been an increase in taxi fares in Budapest? Yes, in March, taxi fares in Budapest increased significantly. The base fare went up to HUF 1,100, the kilometer fare to HUF 440, and the per minute fare to HUF 110. However, Zoltán Metál stated that they do not want further increases at the moment.