Uber Ban Upheld In Berlin And Hamburg

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Just over a week ago the company overturned a similar ban that would have ended their operations in the entire country, only to have courts in Berlin and Hamburg enact bans due to rulings that the company violates German laws.

Uber ban: Disparate decisions

The Berlin ruling applies to both the standard UberPop and premium UberBlack services, and court spokesman Stephan Grosscurth cited a lack of proper licenses as the reason for the ban.

“The services violate multiple rules for transporting people that serve to protect customers,” said Grosscurth. UberPop drivers are not vetted “to see whether they can take the special responsibility when transporting customers.”

Uber had won an appeal against a previous ban issued by the Hamburg appeals court, but today that ruling was overturned. A lower court ruled last month that the ban had been issued by the wrong city department. However both courts agreed that Uber’s service violates the law.

German ambivalence part of ongoing battles

The somewhat confusing back and forth between bans and successful appeals is symptomatic of the German approach to technology firms on the whole.

The issue has become such a hot topic that last week the German Economy Ministry said that room needed to be made for new, digital business models alongside existing businesses, as well as calling for a review of laws governing transport and competition.

Uber itself released a statement stating that they were “reviewing the court documents in detail before commenting on today’s decision but will continue to comply with German law.” The spokesman refused to specify whether Uber would continue operating in the two cities pending any appeal.

In many of its operating cities, Uber has been pursued by conflicts with traditional taxi operators and authorities. Uber has had its business restricted by governments and regulators around the world due to perceived safety risks and unfair competition with licensed taxi services.

The company has a presence in 43 countries and has been forced to pull out of one city: Vancouver, Canada.There have been protests in European cities such as London, Madrid, Paris and Berlin by cab drivers whose licenses can cost up to $254,000 each.

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