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.
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