Uber banned in Germany following temporary injunction by Frankfurt court

The ruling said that drivers affiliated with the San-Francisco-based company lacked the necessary commercial licenses to pick up passengers

Controversial car pick-up app Uber has been banned in Germany after a court issued a temporary injunction.

Founded in 2009 and valued at $18.2 billion, Uber allows smartphone users to access taxi-like services in around 150 cities across the globe.

However, a ruling by the Frankfurt Regional Court said that drivers affiliated with the San-Francisco-based company lacked the necessary commercial licenses to pick up passengers.

Uber faces fines of up to €250,000 if it flouts the injunction, according to The Financial Times.

Under German law, drivers are allowed to pick up passengers with a commercial license if the driver charges no more than the operating cost of the trip - but because Uber takes a cut of any charges, the court held it liable.

 

The injunction applies pending a full hearing of a suit brought against Uber by Taxi Deutschland, a Frankfurt-based consortium of taxi companies operating in major cities across Germany. Taxi Deutschland offers its own taxi-hire apps for smartphones.

Dieter Schlenker, chairman of Taxi Deutschland, said in a statement: “The Passenger Transport Act regulates the protection of drivers and consumers. That can't easily be overturned no matter how neoliberal the company.”

 

“Uber operates with billions in cash from Goldman Sachs and Google, wraps itself in a Startup-Look and sells itself as a New Economy saviour.”

Legal experts said the ruling applies nationwide unless Uber appeals and subsequent decisions limit the scope of the ban.

An Uber spokesman said the company was working on a response but had no immediate comment.

It is not the first obstacle Uber has faced. Taxi drivers across Europe caused chaos in June by protesting against the service but it has continued to grow in popularity.

Black cab drivers in London claimed its app contravenes rules that restrict the use of taxi meters and protests have also taken place in Paris and Madrid.

Additional reporting by agencies

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