US limousine app Uber banned in Berlin

Following protests from taxi drivers, Berlin’s courts have ruled that the Uber service does not comply with federal transport laws. Earlier this week, the US app expanded its limousine service to include a non-professional drivers. In direct competition with Berlin’s taxis, the Californian company’s ‘uberPop’ app allowed users to pay a private individual with their own car and driver’s licence for a taxi service.

Uber not giving up

In response to the ruling, Uber’s European manager, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, told the Berliner Zeitung that the company would continue to provide its new service, while pushing for new laws in Berlin:

It makes no sense, neither for customers nor for the driver, to drive cars back to the garage between jobs. Berlin’s passenger transport laws were mostly written before there was internet.

The company, which recently suffered a similar legal setback in Brussels, is risking fines of €10,000 for each illegal taxi trip.

German taxi drivers are protected by a law that prevents chauffeurs from waiting for spontaneous customers. Following the launch of Uber’s new business in Berlin, local taxi drivers took legal action. “Uber is conducting an illegal taxi service with rental cars,” said Richard Leipolt, Chairman of the Berlin taxi union, who brought the case against Uber to court.

Uber limousines are competing against Sixt’s MyDriver chauffeur service as well as the local startup Blacklane.

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