Uber’s on-again-off-again relationship with Germany appears to be taking the off ramp once again.
Citing complex government regulations, Uber is speeding away from three German cities: Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt, nearly nine months after German courts ruled that Uber drivers be required to obtain the same licenses required of commercial taxi drivers.
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The complex relationship between Uber and Germany has been on-going and rather intense at times.
In January 2013, the ride-sharing service launched in Germany without much fanfare. The soft launch featured “a couple of cars in Berlin” and not a lot of press. After a rather quiet launch, Uber gained support for months before the Berlin government issued a prohibition order in August of 2014 seeking to ban UberBLACK and UberPOP from the city.
Just four days later the Berlin Administrative Court had a change of heart and suspended the ban which, once again, gave Uber the right to conduct business in Berlin.
It seemed like Uber was in the clear until a month later when a Frankfurt court issued a temporary injunction that banned Uber from operating across all of Germany for not holding the necessary paperwork required for carrying out taxi-like services within the country. The service was banned for good in March of this year.
The paperwork Uber had been operating without is required of commerically licensed taxis within Germany and it’s required under the Passenger Transport Act.
Following this news, Uber got on board by agreeing to pay for the licenses and only deploy drivers that had the necessary paperwork. However, a supply shortage of drivers that posessed the required licenses and permits compromised Uber’s ability to provide the on-demand rides that its business model depended on.
As such, we’re now seeing the company retreat from three major German cities while remaining operational in Berlin and Munich.
According to Reuters, the company hopes the retreat is temporary but states plans to “intensify the dialogue” with German lawmakers while saying Germany remained one of its most important markets.
To be continued?
➤ Uber pulls out of three German cities [The Verge]