Dutch judges ban taxi service UberPOP (Update)

The Netherlands has joined the list of countries trying to ban popular ride-sharing service Uber because its drivers operate wit
The Netherlands has joined the list of countries trying to ban popular ride-sharing service Uber because its drivers operate without licenses, breaking the law

Dutch judges on Monday banned the popular ride-sharing service UberPOP from taking bookings via its smartphone app, threatening the US company with fines of up to 100,000 euros ($123,000).

A court ordered Uber to stop its UberPOP service, which allows non-professional drivers to register with Uber via a mobile phone and offer trips in their own cars at half the price of a regular cab.

"Drivers who transport people for payment without a licence are breaking the law," said the decision from the Hague-based Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal.

Uber could be fined up to 100,000 euros, and drivers could face fines of 10,000 euros for continuing to work, up to a maximum of 40,000 euros.

A defiant Uber reacted in a statement by saying it "will continue to offer UberPOP."

Monday's decision "is simply the first step in a long-running judicial battle," the San Francisco-based company added.

UberPOP is one of several services offered by the online taxi startup, which appealed a Dutch government decision in September to have it banned.

Uber said that it was merely offering a "car-sharing service."

But the judges sided with government on Monday, pointing out that Uber receives a 20 percent commission for each trip.

Uber launched UberPOP as a pilot project in Amsterdam between July and September.

Last week Uber extended the service to The Hague and Rotterdam.

Several drivers were arrested in Amsterdam in October and fined 1,500 euros. Drivers were also arrested on the first day of operations in Rotterdam.

Uber has expanded at breakneck speed since it launched in 2009 and is now present in more than 200 cities across 45 countries.

But its rapid growth has caused tensions, especially in Europe where rival taxi companies have protested that Uber cars are not subject to the same regulations.

A tribunal in Paris, France, will decide on Friday whether Uber's services constitute unfair competition to traditional taxi drivers.

Delhi's government on Monday banned Uber from operating in the Indian capital after a passenger accused one of its drivers of rape.


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Dec 08, 2014
If taxi services weren't so much less appealing in every way then Uber wouldn't have a market.

Why would people ever give Uber any business if Taxi's did their job properly?

Dec 08, 2014
People use Uber drivers because they undercut the expensive rates that taxis charge. However, municipalities regulate the taxi industry very closely, by limiting the number of plates available to potential taxi owners, and by setting fare rates. The ceiling on these numbers comes up for regular review and are adjusted according to the growing population base and the cost of living. The city will sell the plates to potential owners for a few hundred dollars each, and the owners can then turn around and sell them for hundreds of thousands. The city of Toronto requires that plate buyers be employed in the taxi industry full-time, preventing speculators from simply putting their names on the priority list and waiting for new plates to become available and then buying them up cheap and selling them at extreme markups.

Uber undermines the tried and true regulatory process that governs the taxi business and places the livelihoods of taxi drivers in great jeopardy.

Dec 08, 2014
Uber provides insufficient opportunities for graft.

Dec 08, 2014
I would not want to be an Uber driver. Today, taxis are equipped with in-car cameras and bullet-proof dividers for the drivers' protection. Taxis have historically been former police cars, usually Ford Crown Victorias, because they are large, rugged vehicles that are equipped with thick steel plates in the driver's seat back, to prevent potential injury from perps who may be armed, riding in the back.

Uber is irresponsible.

Knowing all this, would you be prepared to drive strangers about town in your family car? For that matter, what do you know of your driver? In London, England, potential taxi drivers have to pass an intensive four-year training program. In most large cities, driver training is required, and represents an investment by the future cabbie. Uber drivers don't know the city as well, and do not receive any form of sensitivity training or comprehensive CPR instruction, all of which are part of the taxi driver training programs.

Dec 09, 2014
Since Uber is encouraging people to break the law and refuses to abide by court decisions, it should be charged with contempt of court and have the fines doubled every thirty days until it complies.

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