Uber Gives Middle Finger To Ban In Berlin

Berlin’s State Department of Civil and Regulatory Affairs has served up a prohibitive order to Uber this morning saying the San Francisco-based ridesharing service hadn’t done enough to protect the safety of its passengers. The department has threatened Uber with a 25,000 euro (£20,000) fine should it ignore the order. Uber drivers are still in operation in the city, despite the ban.

This is just the latest kerfuffle in a series of Uber operations in Europe. Taxi drivers in London, Brussels, Madrid and Milan all say Uber is flouting the law in those cities and harming the taxi services there. Taxi drivers in several European cities took to the streets this last June, grinding traffic to a halt in protest of Uber operations. French President Francois Hollande tried to impose a 15-minute pickup delay on private car services back in February, but that idea was struck down by the constitutional court. London’s Labour MP Margaret Hodge has also said Uber was competing unfairly with London taxi drivers.

German chauffers are legally required to obtain a taxi license if they pick up passengers but don’t drop them off back at their original spot after. “Uber thus must not use a smartphone app or similar offers as of now, or arrange offers through this app which infringe the passenger transportation law,” the department said in a press release on Wednesday.

The ridesharing service was banned by a Berlin court back in April. However, the Berlin claimant hadn’t chosen to enforce the court order at that time. Berlin’s State Department says it will now enforce the ban. Uber’s general manager in Berlin, Fabien Nestmann, said Uber would challenge the ban. Uber can definitely afford to pay the fine and continue operations. It had a recent financing round of $1.2 billion and sits at a valuation of $18.2 billion.