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Uber alles... nein! Germany imposes nationwide ban on taxi app
German court outlaws Uber with a temporary injunction
Uber has been banned in Germany after a court in Frankfurt imposed a temporary injunction on the driving firm.
Taxi Deutschland, a co-operative taxi industry group in the country, took Uber to court in Frankfurt claiming that the company is in violation of Germany’s passenger transport laws. According to a statement from the group (translated from the German by El Reg's multi-lingual brainboxes), the court has decided that the Passenger Transport Act applies to Uber’s services and has banned the company from operating in the months leading up to the trial.
“The Passenger Transport Act regulates driver and consumer protection,” the cooperative’s chairman Dieter Schlenker said. “It can’t be overturned no matter how neoliberal the company.”
However, an Uber spokesperson said that it would continue to operate in the country and would be appealing against the lawsuit. The firm believes that it can keep running its services while it is appealing against the temporary injunction.
“We believe innovation and competition is good for everyone, riders and drivers, everyone wins. You cannot put the brakes on progress. Uber will continue its operations and will offer Uberpop ridesharing services via its app throughout Germany,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
Taxi Deutschland said that Uber drivers caught breaking the ban could face fines of up to 250,000 Euros per trip. But Uber said that it “will continue to support its partner drivers”.
Schlenker claimed that Uber tried to pass itself off as a “new economy saviour”, but its so-called sharing economy status was no good for the state, society or its employees.
“Uber works with billions in capital from Goldman Sachs and Google, disguises itself as a start-up and sells itself as the new economy saviour,” he said.
“Uber cashes in without investing and doesn't take any responsibility: Drivers are not checked and they are getting neither national insurance nor set wages. Vehicles are not registered or insured for transportation, passengers lose all important protection. On top of all the government loses out on tax income. With this type of 'locust economy' the government, society and employees equally lose out.”
The driving firm has already had city-wide rulings go against it in Berlin and Hamburg, where authorities have cited safety concerns and worries about unfair competition with licensed taxi drivers. However, Uber has been allowed to continue operating in the cities while it contests the rulings.
It’s unclear at present if Uber can continue to legally operate in Germany while appealing the Frankfurt court decision, which was only handed down today. ®