Uber banned in Germany
The taxi service app Uber has been banned across all of Germany, following a court ruling in Frankfurt which said the app lacked the necessary legal permits to operate within the country.
A BBC report says that the low cost UberPop service could no longer take passengers, and that users of service would face a fine if they continued.
The mobile app allows users to order a taxi using only their mobile phones. Taxi drivers and passengers each create a profile on the app, and the final fare is often cheaper than it would be had the transaction taken place with the traditional means.
Uber, which has backing both from Google and from the bank Goldman Sachs, has been the subject of protests across Europe and in particular Berlin, Paris and London, where taxi drivers believe that Uber's lack of regulations makes for unfair competition.
Speaking to the Guardian in June, Ian Beetlestone of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union said:
"We are not objecting to competition. We have had competition for years from minicabs but we haven't caused gridlock over it. We have to jump through hoops to be regulated and we don't feel people involved in these new apps are being subjected to the same regulations."
Uber not suspending service
Though the Frankfurt court has now banned the use of UberPop, the company itself does not look cooperative. Speaking to the BBC, a spokesperson for the company said:
"You cannot put the brakes on progress. Uber will continue its operations and will offer UberPop ridesharing services via its app throughout Germany."
At present, the firm's software still offers service across the country; with passengers still able to use the app in major cities such as Frankfurt, Munich and Dusseldorf.
Kleon West, business development director at theEword said: "Taxis are the next thing on the ever growing list of things which have been challenged by the smartphone. It's obviously great for the passenger that fares are much cheaper, but it's equally important that the competition is fair, and the playing field is just."