More trouble brewing for Uber in Brussels

Uber is an illegal service that keeps violating the rules, a Brussels minister said

There is more trouble brewing for ride-hailing service Uber in Brussels where the minister for mobility announced he will file a complaint with the police to take the company's site offline in Belgium.

That's not all, though. Brussels-Capital Region Minister Pascal Smet, will also file a criminal complaint against Uber and will inform Apple and Google that the Uber apps in their app stores incite illegal practices, he said Friday.

Moreover, two of his colleagues responsible for fiscal and social fraud will start investigations into the company's business practices. "As long as Uber refuses to abide by some basic rules in the field of safety, liability and social protection, it remains an illegal service," said Smet.

In Brussels, the company runs UberPop, a ride-sharing service that typically uses drivers who drive their own cars but who do not have licenses to transport passengers for a fee.

The company refuses to give insight into how it meets, or fails to meet, fiscal and social regulations, Smet said. Some Uber drivers also have other jobs and only moonlight for Uber, while others get paid by Uber while also receiving an unemployment allowance. Such forms of fraud are unacceptable and create unfair competition for taxi companies that abide by the rules, he said.

Uber was banned from operating in Brussels by the Brussels Commercial Court in April because drivers don't have commercial licenses after a lawsuit was filed by Brussels taxi company Taxis Verts. However, Uber flouted that ban and just kept operating its service, despite a court order that it has to pay a penalty of €10,000 (about US$12,500) per violation.

Besides the mentioned measures, the Brussels government will also start employing "mystery shoppers" in a bid to increase controls on Uber, which could include confiscating the cars of drivers, Smet said.

Meanwhile, Smet will continue his work on modernization of regulations for the taxi sector. New rules must make regular taxis more consumer friendly while technological innovation and car-sharing initiatives will also have a place in the regulations, he said.

The Brussels Uber crackdown follows a week of turmoil around the U.S.-based company, with pressure mounting worldwide over similar issues. On Tuesday for instance, it was banned from operating in Spain for "unfair competition" and conducting unauthorized services, while a Dutch court upheld a ban on UberPop in the Netherlands Monday.

Uber was also banned in Delhi Monday after one of its drivers was charged with raping a female passenger over the weekend. Meanwhile, the company was sued in the U.S. by the city of Portland, Oregon, in a bid to halt its service until it obtains permits to operate legally.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags legalCriminalUber

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?