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Berlin bans Uber to protect passengers and its taxis

Matt Brian, @m4tt
08.14.14
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It's safe to say that Uber has become a victim of its own success, provoking the ire of the global taxi industry and also its fellow ridesharing competitors. While it's enjoyed some leniency in the US, European regulators have put the boot into the app, with Berlin becoming the latest city to ban Uber cars from its roads. In a statement, Berlin's State Department of Civil and Regulatory Affairs said that Uber puts passenger safety at risk by using "unverified drivers in unlicensed vehicles," and threatened to levy a €25,000 ($33,400) fine each time it violates the ban. Drivers won't escape action either, receiving €20,000 ($26,750) fine if they're caught pursuing passengers.

Given the rise of unlicensed taxis in European cities, Berlin's ruling does address a legitimate concern. However, the state department has acknowledged that the "protection of the taxi industry" was also a key factor in its decision. Uber says it intends to challenge the ban and has vowed to continue operating while it contests the ban in court. It's not all doom and gloom for the company, however: by bringing the case before a judge, Uber can seek a review of antiquated taxi laws, allowing it to operate freely if it gets the ruling overturned.

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