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TRAVEL NEWS

Uber expands into Italy’s taxi market with new partnership

Uber on Friday launched a new partnership with Italy's biggest taxi dispatcher, meaning it’s now possible to hail a cab via the app.

Uber expands into Italy's taxi market with new partnership
Rome's residents and visitors now have a new option when booking a taxi. Photo by JavyGo on Unsplash

The new service was launched in Rome on Friday after the city became the first in Italy to agree to allow Uber to enter the local taxi market, according to Italian media reports.

While the ride-hailing app does exist in Italy, it’s currently only available in Rome and Milan – and only in the form of the more luxurious Uber Black.

READ ALSO: Why can’t I get an Uber in Italy?

The usual, cheaper Uber service is not allowed to operate in Italy, due to concerns about unfair competition for taxi drivers. The update on Friday doesn’t change this.

But the new addition to the app in Rome does mean the city’s residents and visitors have another option available when booking a cab.

Taxis can be summoned via the app, which gives an estimate of the cost upon booking. However the final price of your journey will be determined by the taxi meter.

It should soon be possible to book a taxi via Uber in dozens more towns and cities across Italy under a deal made in May between Uber and dispatcher IT Taxi.

READ ALSO: Rome vows to crack down on ‘rip-off’ airport taxis targeting tourists

However it’s not clear exactly when the service will become available in more cities, with local taxi drivers’ unions across the country reportedly still fighting to block the approval of the agreement.

Rome’s taxi drivers staged a series of protests in recent weeks against the planned expansion of Uber and a new decree containing provisions for deregulating the highly protected taxi sector.

Uber’s move came days after local authorities in Rome pledged to crack down on overcharging by unscrupulous taxi drivers operating at the city’s airports.

Member comments

  1. Uber Black is available in more than Rome and Milan now. I noticed ads for Uber in Bologna Airport recently and I checked and it is available in the city. It definitely wasn’t available when I first moved here so I don’t know when it started in the city.

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TRAVEL NEWS

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example. 

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