Smartphone and tablet app Uber has arrived in Greece, allowing non-professional drivers to turn their private cars into taxis and offer transport services, despite having drawn a strong reaction from cabbies.
The ride-sharing service through Uber is likely to harm established taxi businesses as it represents a direct form of competition, especially if it comes with the high level of service it advertises, including an objective method for calculating fares and round-the-clock operation.
Uber is planning to develop three types of services in Athens: UberX, for non-professional drivers with a four-door medium-sized or large car, UberBlack, for drivers with a professional license who own a black vehicle or SUV (for more luxurious rides), and UberTaxi for cab drivers who also own a taxi.
It remains to be seen how the first category, in particular, will operate, given that Greece’s legislative framework forbids such a service by non-professional drivers. There is of course a counterargument to that: How often are professional drivers actually checked and how many illegal taxis operate in Athens?
In fact Uber intends to expand beyond the capital to major cities such as Thessaloniki and Patra, as well as to tourism destinations such Rhodes and Santorini.