Berlin and Hamburg ban for taxi app Uber

Out-Law News | 29 Sep 2014 | 5:10 pm | 1 min. read

Taxi app Uber has been banned from operating in two German cities after being found to be in breach of transport laws in the country.

Courts in Berlin and Hamburg agreed to issue injunctions against Uber late last week which ban the company from operating in the cities, according to media reports. The injunctions were sought by local government bodies in the two cities.

According to Bloomberg, a spokesperson for the Berlin court said: "The services [Uber provides] violate multiple rules for transporting people that serve to protect customers."

Uber enables users of its UberPop online application to book a car ride from a network of individual drivers not affiliated with official taxi companies. The company operates in a number of major cities across the world, including New York, London, Shanghai and Sydney. It has come in for criticism from taxi drivers in a number of cities as a result of the disruption they see Uber having in their market.

In Germany Uber has been the subject of a nation-wide legal challenge brought by taxi industry body Taxi Deutschland. Taxi Deutschland has claimed the company has been acting unlawfully by allowing consumers to book journeys with it with drivers who do not have the necessary permits under Germany's Passenger Transport Act.

In early September a Frankfurt court upheld Taxi Deutschland's case and said Uber was banned from operating in the country. However, that ruling was overturned shortly afterwards after Uber won an appeal on the basis that Taxi Deutschland had submitted their request for an urgent hearing in the case too late, something which Taxi Deutschland is challenging.

Taxi Deutschland has previously referred to Uber as a "locust" and has claimed that Uber can compete unfairly with official taxi companies because it is subject to less regulation. It claimed Uber can pay less tax than taxi companies because of its operating model and alleged that Uber offers less consumer protection than the taxi companies do because of the fact Uber's drivers have not had to obtain permits.

However, Uber has claimed that its UberPop app "is revolutionising transport in cities and beyond by helping to create smarter cities with more transport choices" and said it is planning to double the size of its business before the end of 2014 and expand into more German cities, according to a report by the BBC.