Israel Indicts Uber for Allegedly Offering Illegal Rides

  • Uber says night service operates according to regulations
  • Ministry agents posed as passengers to uncover service

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Israel’s Transport Ministry issued an indictment in a Tel Aviv court against Uber Technologies Inc., saying it allegedly picked up passengers for a fee without a government license, according to a ministry statement.

Undercover agents posed as passengers over several months, the ministry said in a statement Tuesday. 

Uber launched its service in Israel in August 2014, where it is attempting to lure users away from local rival Gett Inc. However its UberX ride-sharing service has remained illegal in the country, where drivers are banned from charging for rides in private cars.

Instead, Uber has been offering an UberNight service in Tel Aviv, which is offered between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m., where passengers pay private car drivers a ‘reimbursement’ for expenses, such as fuel.

An Uber spokeswoman said by phone that the company developed the UberNight service specifically for Israel and in accordance with local regulations. “Uber will continue to act to reduce the cost of transportation in Israel,” the company said.

The announcement adds to a list of problems for Uber in Europe. In March it closed its ride-hailing service in Denmark ahead of regulation changes it said would make its app unworkable for consumers.

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