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Poland may impose more regulations on Uber

Poland may impose more regulations on ride-hailing giant Uber while softening the rules for granting taxi licences in an attempt to find a compromise after protests by taxi drivers, Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.

Last week, thousands of cabs blocked streets of Poland’s biggest cities demanding that the government react to “illegal activity” by some drivers, widely seen as a protest against Uber. Some Uber drivers have been targeted by vandals who poured excrement or acid on their cars.

“We want a compromise between the taxi industry and the sharing industry,” Morawiecki told a news conference.

“We need some requirements … but on the other hand is it necessary to know every single street’s location since everyone has GPS in his smartphone?” he said, referring to the exams would-be taxi drivers must pass to obtain a licence.

Uber, which grew to a valuation of $68 billion in seven years, has changed the tightly regulated taxi industry in many countries, but has run into legal trouble with the way it handles employees and drivers.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told employees on Tuesday he will take time away from the company he helped to found, one of a series of measures the company is taking to claw its way out from under a mountain of controversies.

Without naming Uber specifically, Morawiecki said he wanted international corporations operating in Poland to pay taxes in Poland.

“I would like international business models to be set in a way that would allow (us) to finance Polish hospitals, Polish pre-schools and Polish roads,” he said. The public relations firm representing Uber in Poland could not immediately be reached for comment.

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