Second Uber Driver to Get German Ban on Taking PassengersKarin Matussek and Cornelius Rahn
German taxi owners continued a campaign against Uber Technologies Inc. as they force a second driver to stop taking passengers for the ride-hailing app.
The driver’s lawyers will be sent an order today threatening fines as high as 250,000 euros ($323,000) for future violations, according to Herwig Kollar, an attorney who won the rulings this week on behalf of the owner of a cab company. The two injunctions to stop transporting people without a permit come from the same Frankfurt court that last month issued a nationwide ban against Uber.
“I’m just about to pick up the second injunction from the court,” Kollar said when reached by phone today. “I will then have it served to the driver’s lawyers and with that it will take effect.”
Taxi Deutschland Service Gesellschaft fuer Taxizentralen eG, the group of cab dispatcher which won the nationwide ban, last week started test rides to ensure Uber drivers have the proper licenses to carry passengers. Uber will stand behind its drivers, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, the regional general manager in western and northern Europe for the San Francisco-based company, said on Bloomberg TV today.
“Like Uber has done in its over-200 cities, we’ll of course stand by our drivers in Germany and elsewhere,” he said. In each of the five German cities Uber is operating, customer can find cars within minutes. He declined to discuss the size of Uber’s fleet or the number of drivers working for it in Germany.
Governments and regulators in cities around the world are restricting Uber’s business on the grounds it poses safety risks and unfairly competes with licensed taxi services. Cabbies with permits that can cost 200,000 euros apiece have staged protests in European cities including London, Madrid, Paris and Berlin.
Uber is active in more than 40 countries and raised $1.2 billion in June, giving it a value of $17 billion. Investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Google Ventures are putting money into the burgeoning market for apps that let users order taxis and cars or share rides using their smartphones.
“We are disappointed by the decision of the Regional Court of Frankfurt. We will support our rider base to safeguard their interests,” Uber said in an e-mailed statement. “It is unfortunate that taxi interests in Germany have decided to use their strength against a single UberPOP driver.”
The company said it has taken into account the major concerns articulated by the Frankfurt court in its preliminary ruling and is confident that German courts will recognize in the coming weeks that Uber represents a legitimate alternative.
Uber has challenged the nationwide ban in the Frankfurt court, which will hold a hearing on Sept. 16. A separate motion to stop Taxi Deutschland from enforcing the ban while the case is pending was rejected earlier this week.
The injunction against the drivers were issued in two separate cases. One of the orders was rendered by the same panel of judges that will hear Uber’s challenge to the German ban.