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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Ubermobile applicationslegalmobile

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?