Hamburg seeks to ban Uber ride service

Uber has been under pressure in a number of cities. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Uber has been under pressure in a number of cities. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Hamburg - Hamburg has told Uber, a US car service whose smartphone app summons rides at the touch of a button, to stop operating in the German city, adding to resistance the company has faced globally from local regulators and taxi drivers.

San Francisco-based Uber Technologies, valued at $18.2bn in a fundraising last month just four years since its 2010 launch, has touched a raw nerve by threatening to open up a traditionally tightly controlled and licensed market.

Uber customers order and pay for a taxi with its application on their smartphones. Instead of having taxis prowl city streets looking for customers, Uber allows smartphone users to summon a nearby car to pick them up.

Hamburg's transport office sent Uber an injunction on 21 July saying its drivers needed special licenses to transport passengers, a spokesperson for the office said on Wednesday, confirming a report published by German monthly Manager Magazin.

The magazine had said drivers who continued to offer their services via the platform could face fines of €1 000 ($1 300).

Resistance

Uber said its Uber Pop service was not a commercial ride service, rather a platform connecting private car owners with people seeking a ride.

"Drivers riding on Uber Pop are driving their own car," said regional general manager Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty. "The whole platform is about allowing those people to drive around a few hours a week to share the cost of owning a car."

Uber said the Hamburg authorities' decision was not final, definitive or binding and it would continue to offer its services in Germany's second-biggest city while appealing.

Uber has faced resistance in cities around the world. In Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, DC, Uber and similar companies have faced lawsuits from taxi companies hoping to keep out the competition.

In Europe, taxi drivers protesting against Uber in June created traffic chaos in cities including London and Paris, while South Korea's capital Seoul came out this week saying it wanted to ban the app.

Uber, backed by investors including Goldman Sachs and Google, rebuts the criticism and argues it complies with local regulations.
ZAR/USD
16.97
(+0.36)
ZAR/GBP
21.20
(+0.22)
ZAR/EUR
19.19
(-0.20)
ZAR/AUD
11.84
(-0.04)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.14)
Gold
1784.58
(+0.54)
Silver
18.27
(+1.50)
Platinum
821.00
(+1.54)
Brent Crude
42.85
(0.00)
Palladium
1931.00
(+1.04)
All Share
54846.28
(+0.60)
Top 40
50503.91
(+0.65)
Financial 15
10134.53
(-0.15)
Industrial 25
76434.98
(-0.16)
Resource 10
51142.00
(+2.00)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm not really directly affected
18% - 1650 votes
I am taking a hit, but should be able to recover in the next year
23% - 2170 votes
My finances have been devastated
34% - 3222 votes
It's still too early to know what the full effect will be
25% - 2345 votes
Vote