Since entering into the German market earlier in the year, the popular US-based ride sharing service Uber has seen quite its share of criticism and legal threats from established taxi companies in the country, and has now faced its largest legal hurdle after a Frankfurt court placed a nationwide ban on the company’s most popular service.
Taxi Deutschland is responsible for the latest suit, and since they are a nationwide network of taxi dispatchers, the ruling effects not just the city of Frankfurt where it was filed, but the entire country.
Their complaint that Uber doesn’t need to comply with the strict regulations in Germany matches those filed by other established taxi companies in the country. Taxi Deutschland argued that Uber drivers are not obligated to pay the insurance fees that registered cab drivers must receive, allowing Uber to substantially undercut the competition.
Uber has already stated that they plan to appeal the court’s decision, but in the meantime the company can face fines of 250,000 euros ($330,000) and employees can be jailed for up to six months for breaking the court order. Despite the steep penalties, Uber is not planning on suspending operations and has assured its drivers that they will “look after” anyone who receives a fine.
In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Uber said that “Germany is one of the fastest growing markets for Uber in Europe. We will continue to operate in Germany and will appeal the recent lawsuit filed by Taxi Deutschland in Frankfurt. 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.”