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17th Jan 2021

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Uber suspends taxi app in Spain

  • UberPop is controversial because it allows drivers to offer rides without having to follow the same rules that apply to taxi drivers (Photo: jordi espel)

The American app company Uber has suspended its ride-sharing service UberPop in Spain, the company announced on its website on Tuesday (30 December).

The “temporary suspension” of the app, which allows drivers without a taxi permit to offer paid rides, comes after a court in Madrid banned the app from operating in Spain on 9 December.

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“Today we have received the formal ruling and, in compliance with the December 9th order from the commercial judge and in respect of the law, we are temporarily suspending uberPOP in Spain while we appeal the court ruling”, Uber wrote on Tuesday on the blog pages aimed at users in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia, the Spanish cities where UberPop had been available.

It also announced the company will “collaborate with Spanish politicians to develop the modern framework needed to create a permanent home for Uber and the sharing economy”.

“We want to respect the law”, Uber's regional director for Spain, Carlos Lloret told El Pais.

UberPop is controversial because it allows drivers to offer rides without having to follow the same rules that apply to taxi drivers.

Many European cities have elaborate taxi rules on safety. Also, UberPop drivers generally do not pay taxes on their income.

There is no sign on Uber's website that it will also suspend UberPop in any of the other countries where it has come under legal fire.

From Thursday (1 January 2015) onwards, the service will be banned in France.

However, users of the service in cities like Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Paris, and Toulouse, and in the Côte d'Azur, would not know of the ban if Uber's blog was there only source.

All Uber does there is wish them a happy new year and informs them on the different tariffs that will apply to UberPop rides on new year's eve.

In an interview on 20 December with Dutch newspaper Het Parool, the regional director for the Netherlands and Belgium did not show any signs of quitting.

“The taxi law is from 2000. To realise how old that law is, just think of Google, which opened a Dutch page in 2002”, Niek van Leeuwen told the paper, adding that the law “hinders progress”.

Uber has tried to attract new drivers in the Dutch cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam by offering a €100 start bonus.

In Brussels, the city's regional government recently took a more aggressive approach toward UberPop drivers, after attempts to negotiate with the company failed.

Last weekend, inspectors posing as customers caught four UberPop drivers and seized their cars, RTBF reported on Tuesday. The drivers can retrieve their cars after paying a sum of €3,000.

Bad week in Europe for Uber

Two European courts banned the service UberPop, and a regional minister from Brussels announced tough measures.

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