Car sharing service Uber banned in Germany

Crazy Taxi

The car sharing service Uber has been hit with a temporary ban in Germany after a court in Frankfurt ruled that the mobile app violates the country's Passenger Transportation Act.

The ruling came into force on Tuesday following an expedited hearing. It means the ban remains in place until a full hearing takes place and Uber could face a €250,000 (£198,000) fine per ride.

Uber has vowed to keep the app online regardless of the ban. "You cannot put the brakes on progress," the company said in a statement. "Uber will continue its operations and will offer Uberpop ridesharing services via its app throughout Germany."

The company promised to appeal the decision and would, if necessary, "exhaust all the legal possibilities".

The case against Uber was brought by the Taxi Deutschland Servicegesellschaft company, which offers a rival app that links users to registered taxi drivers. The company argued that Uber was not operating a legitimate service since its drivers did not have the correct permits, were not properly insured, and were not subject to any checks.

"We are very happy with the decision," TDS spokeswoman Anja Floetenmeyer said. "The law says there are safety regulations for drivers and safety regulations for users, and these also apply to neo-liberal firms like Uber."

Floetenmeyer said that since Uber was choosing to ignore the ban, TDS will now formally ask the court to enforce the relevant fines. "If you get into a car, you are legally in the hands of the driver with your life and your personal health and safety," she added. "And the driver has to play by the German rules."

She also warned that the next step would be to impose fines on drivers using the Uber app. "If they don't play by the rules, this is worth up to €25,000 per drive per driver," she said.

Uber has pursued an aggressive business strategy in Germany, expanding rapidly and defying a number of attempts by local authorities to ban it. The app is available in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Düsseldorf, and Ueber intends to expand to at least six other German cities.

Authorities in Berlin and Hamburg tried to ban the app earlier this year, citing a lack of proper permits and insurance, but in both cases local administrative courts suspended the bans, pending procedural decisions and further hearings.

Uber says that Germany represents one of the company's most fertile markets, with registrations having quintupled since the start of the year.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Ben Knight in Berlin, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 2nd September 2014 13.13 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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