Friday, 15 August 2014

"Berlin bans Uber app citing protection of taxi driver privileges"

From the BBC:

The mobile taxi app Uber has been banned in Berlin by the city's State Department of Civil and Regulatory Affairs.

In a statement, the authority said it had banned the app on passenger safety grounds and threatened the firm with a 25,000 euro (£20,000) fine for ignoring the order.

Uber said it would challenge the ban. It is the latest setback for Uber, which has faced bans and protests in cities across Europe.

The Berlin authority said passengers may not be covered by insurance because they aren't traditional cabs.

If they are worried about the possibility of uninsured drivers etc, then surely they would have to ban cars completely? That's the only way I can see.

Whether there should be a rule that people who drive other people round for money have to take out a particular kind of insurance is a completely different debate to the debate as to what marketing/communication channels such people can use, surely?


The Stigler said...

The UK has this about right - you need a license to drive a minicab, but the requirements are insured car, clean driving license, clean criminal record. Pay the fairly small fee (something like £50/yr where I live).

If you then want to drive for A2B Cabs or Uber, it's up to you.

Lola said...

In any event its up to Uber to ensure that their drivers are ensured. They should be very worried about reputational damage if they aren't.

Dick Puddlecote said...

You're correct, MW. Kudos to Transport for London who are (at the moment) standing firm against calls for the same sort of ban in London.

For probably the first time ever, the black cab unions and minicab associations are in agreement. They want Uber taken out of their market. They've taken time out from throwing rocks at each other and trying to use public sector to enforce protectionism, and are now instead joining forces against the new entrant. Says a lot, that.

Kj said...

What on earth is the difference between an uber cab and any other minicab? I believe the problem in Berlin is that a taxi driver is something instituionalized, borne of protectionism and sympathetically solving information assymetry and price transparency, something an app does easily.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS, I think different councils do it differently, but those seem like sensible rules to me.

L, good point. I'm sure that Uber will have thought of that.

DP, agreed. But I can understand why established mini cab firms (with lots of drivers) are against it, but surely individual mini cab drivers would be in favour?

Kj: "What on earth is the difference between an uber cab and any other minicab?"

Good question. I have no idea. As far as I can see, minicab drivers can use Uber and it is to their benefit - you don't need to work for a larger firm with an office near the train station, you can be a one-man band much more easily.