Business

Berlin bans Uber over passenger safety concerns

Berlin is now banning taxi hailing app Uber from operating in the city because officials believe the service violates the Public Transport Act, according to the Guardian.

German officials say that Uber doesn’t provide enough protections for passengers who are involved in accidents when riding with unlicensed drivers. The service has had trouble in Germany before. Just last month the city of Hamburg moved to ban the service.

Uber faces fines of €25,000 (approx. $33,000) for failing to comply with the prohibitive order, which says Uber cannot use smart phone apps to arrange deals for taxi passengers.

But the company says it’s not a taxi service and therefore isn’t violating any laws. Uber merely stands as a middleman connecting taxi drivers with ride seekers. “We intend to formally challenge this decision,” General Manager Fabian Nestmann said in a statement.

Despite the ban and possible fines, the company is still operating in Berlin, according to the Wall Street Journal. Uber may not be concerned with the fines; the company is flush with cash after a $1.2 billion dollar raise in June.

In addition to passenger safety, officials and taxi companies are concerned that Uber drivers are skirting license laws and that Uber may not be confirming that all the taxis it uses are licensed. Cabbies in Germany are required to have at least a passenger transportation license. Drivers may also be required to hold a taxi license if they don’t return to a dispatcher’s office between fares.

Uber has had a rough summer in Europe. In June, taxi drivers in Berlin, London, Madrid, and Paris held protests against the taxi hailing app, calling Uber’s price hiking and slashing practices unfair to the general taxi market.

More information:

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12 comments
Rhett Thompson
Rhett Thompson

You should ride in taxis in the United States. Proper, safe, cars are the last thing on the agenda.

Rhett Thompson
Rhett Thompson

Stupid. The most dangerous drivers I've encountered worldwide are licensed taxi drivers in their crappy cars. With uber, if a driver is given a bad review, they get banned--try that in a taxi. #311baby!

Alfredo Luque
Alfredo Luque

$33,000 is dirt cheap if that's all it takes to keep operating

Fdl Lcr
Fdl Lcr

Let's jyst be clear on one thing: calling itself a social media service, and not a taxi service is just silly and true bs. But bs-ing authorities aside, my bigger concern with Uber, is vehicle maintenance, as you basically relying on drivers to have good, working and safe: brakes, engine, power train, tires and what not. I am so very suspicious of that knowing how many people are cheapskates and like to cut corners.

Emppu Nurminen
Emppu Nurminen

Surely everything runs exactly the same in US as it does in Europe. /sarcasm

Mark Castellani
Mark Castellani

why would you do that Berlin? I am disappointed in you!

Amit Dixit
Amit Dixit

$33,000 well spent on publicity, even if its bed :)

Viktor Nyics
Viktor Nyics

Being cheaper is not unfair! It's simply reasonable. Returning to the dispatcher’s office between fares?? What difference does it makes. ....

That is just so sooo sooooo dumb!

Uber is the best thing what happened in this industry. Safer+cheaper+better! #uber

Chris White
Chris White

Yeah, cause you're not safe from the state unless you're paying the appropriate extortion rates and enabling planners to keep markets closed for their well connected friends who give them money and help them expand their power.