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Germany Says ‘Nein’ to Uber

Will Germany become an ‘Uber-Free Zone’?

Michael Cruickshank
Germany Says ‘Nein’ to Uber© 2019 Uber

Uber’s car sharing application is one of the most politically contentious ‘disruptive’ apps that have been released in the recent years. Due to the app effectively allowing anyone to become a taxi driver, it skirts around many laws which have been established over the decades regulating this part of the transport industry. While several US states have attempted to ban Uber, nowhere has the regulatory fight been more fierce than in Germany.

And Uber might just have lost that fight. A court decision in Frankfurt today ruled that the company’s app violates Germany’s Passenger Transportation Act, as it allowed unregistered taxi drivers. The decision came with the threat that should Uber continue its operations in Germany, it could be faced with a 250,000 EUR fine per trip.

A German court has banned Uber - Image © 2014 Flickr - Philippe AMIOT

This decision came as part of a court case leveled by Taxi Deutschland Servicegesellschaft, a company offering an app which was similar to Uber, but connected licensed taxi drivers with people who needed transport. This company successfully argued that Uber was in breach of transport safety regulations by allowing illegal taxi drivers to operate with no permit in Germany.

"You cannot put the brakes on progress [...] Uber will continue its operations"

Earlier this year, local governments has sought to ban Uber as well, with both Berlin and Hamburg passing bans which were later suspended. An aggressive expansion strategy in Germany has been prompting these bans, with the company rolling the app out in an ever-increasing number of cities. Indeed Germany has proved to be a very lucrative market for Uber, with registrations increasing four-fold over the course of this year.

Given this, Uber has vowed to fight this decision, and continue operating within the country. In a statement they remarked "You cannot put the brakes on progress [...] Uber will continue its operations and will offer Uberpop ridesharing services via its app throughout Germany." In addition, they reaffirmed their commitment to use all legal avenues to appeal the nation-wide ban.

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