Italian court bans UberPop, threatens fine

Judge says UberPop's smartphone app is provoking a rapid growth in illegal taxi services.

An Uber screenshot

An Uber screenshot

A judge in Milan banned UberPop in Italy on Tuesday, ruling that the car-hailing service constitutes unfair competition for taxi drivers.

Judge Claudio Marangoni said a complaint lodged by taxi drivers' associations and trade unions was well-founded and the UberPop smartphone app linking private drivers with passengers is provoking a rapid growth in illegal taxi services.

Marangoni gave San Francisco-based Uber, which controls a global business estimated to be worth around US$40 billion, 15 weeks to comply with his order or face a fine of €20,000 (US$22,000) per day.

Uber had indicated it would appeal a negative ruling and seek to change Italian and European regulations that affect its operations.

UberPop drivers are able to charge tariffs that are significantly lower than those charged by regular taxi drivers, Marangoni said in his ruling.

Uber has led an uncontrolled increase in driving services on offer and unregulated drivers have not been required to offer their services at times of low demand, as is the case with official taxis, giving the Uber drivers an unfair commercial advantage, the judge said.

Making a request for a ride using a smartphone app is "perfectly similar to a radio taxi service," Marangoni wrote in his ruling, which has the effect of suspending Uber activities throughout Italy.

"It's a great victory, and we didn't do it just for ourselves and our work, but also for the safety of users," said Pietro Gagliardi, a taxi trade union leader from Milan.

Giovanni Maggiolo, another trade unionist, noted UberPop had been suspended for similar reasons in France and Germany. "Uber uses workers who don't receive social security and pension contributions," Maggioli told reporters.

The consumer organization Codacons said it was disappointed by the ruling, which it branded "a medieval limitation on competition."

The ruling damaged users by limiting competition and restricting consumer choice, Codacons President Carlo Rienzi said in a press release.

Rienzi condemned the ruling, saying that it was unimaginable to deprive a modern country of efficient and innovative services such as Uber.

Uber drivers have been fined and had their vehicles seized in Milan, Turin and Genoa and, on occasion, have been subjected to verbal and physical attacks by taxi drivers.

One Uber driver admitted recently that he advised customers to embrace their driver on leaving the car, so suspicious taxi drivers would assume they were related.

Speaking before the ruling, an Uber representative in Brussels said he was confident that the Italian and European parliaments would press ahead with the liberalization of services, including transport. Experience in the U.K. has shown there was room in the market for everyone, Mark MacGann told La Stampa newspaper.

"The client who takes an Uber car wouldn't take a taxi anyway, because it's too expensive. Public car services doesn't just mean taxis. There's room for Uber too," MacGann said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags mobilelegalmobile applicationsUber

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

Philip Willan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?