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Uber banned in Berlin due to safety fears

The Germans have said “nein” to app-based taxi setup Uber for the second time, with Berlin following Hamburg in banning the service.

According to the ruling from Berlin’s City State Department of Civil and Regulatory Affairs, the California-based company doesn’t do enough to protect its passengers from unlicensed drivers. It said Uber also failed to provide adequate insurance for its drivers and their passengers in accidents.

If Uber ignores the ban, it will face a fine of €25,000 (£20,000). As you migh expect, Uber is planning to appeal.

The ruling says: “Uber is from now on no longer allowed to use a smartphone app or similar application, or offer services via this app which are in breach of the Public Transport Act.”

In reply, Uber said the ban wasn’t forward thinking. “The decision from the Berlin authorities is not progressive and it’s seeking to limit consumer choice for all the wrong reasons,” Fabien Nestman, General Manager at Uber in Germany stated.

“As a new entrant we’re bringing much-needed competition to a market that hasn’t changed in years.”

It’s not the first controversy for Uber. Cab drivers have protested in cities all around the world at what they say is unfair competition from the app, which lets you hail a lift from your phone. 

Earlier this month, senior Labour MP Margaret Hodge wrote to Mayor of London Boris Johnson accusing Uber of “opting out of the UK tax regime”. The company claims it has done nothing wrong.

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