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Bloomberg reports that Uber, the car-sharing service that seeks to supplant much of the traditional taxi industry in many big markets, "is fighting its biggest protest from European drivers who say the smartphone application threatens their livelihoods."

According to the story, "Traffic snarled in cities from London to Madrid and Berlin to Paris as strikes and gatherings by more than 30,000 taxi and limo drivers blocked tourist centers and shopping districts. They are asking regulators to apply tougher rules on San Francisco-based Uber, whose software allows customers to order a ride from drivers who don’t need licenses that can cost 200,000 euros ($270,000) apiece."
KC's View:
It's ironic. While the cab drivers were protesting by parking their cars in the middle of the street and trying to snarl traffic, it is a pretty good bet that Uber drivers were picking up fares and making some money.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that the taxi drivers are seeing their livelihoods challenged … but that just puts them in good company, because pretty much every industry out there has either been challenged or is under threat of challenge.

As I noted yesterday, I talked to a lot of people this week in Chicago who, while attending the FMI/United Fresh shows, used Uber when taxis were in short supply. I got a lot of email yesterday after I first noted this, and had people coming up to me on the floor of the exhibit hall to tell me about their Uber experiences.

I think that traditional cab drivers perhaps would be better served if they examined their own levels of service, to see if there are ways that they could be more competitive. I get really tired of people who complain when they find that the rules of the game have changed, and that innovations threaten traditional business models.

As Spenser says in several Robert B. Parker novels, "The ways of the Lord are often dark, but never pleasant." Adapt or die.