Meet Uber's German Nemesis

A cabbie who defeated Berlin's old taxi guild now tries to put the brakes on Uber in Europe

Richard Leipold, owner of Leipold Taxibetrieb, drives one of his fleet of eight taxis in Berlin.

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Born into a family of craftsmen in a hardscrabble Bavarian village, Richard Leipold started driving a cab as a college kid in Berlin. He liked it so much that he kept doing it after graduation, and he ultimately helped topple a local taxi guild with competition-stifling work rules. He estimates he’s carried more than 100,000 passengers over the years — earning enough to purchase an apartment in a quiet southern suburb. In 1981 he bought his first Mercedes cab. The next year he added a second, and he now owns eight cars and employs 14 drivers.

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