Italian Court Bans Uber, Citing Unfair Competition
An Italian court has ruled that Uber’s apps cannot be used in the country, and that the company cannot advertise its services there. The ruling came in a suit by Italian taxi groups, who alleged that Uber constituted unfair competition. A Rome court agreed.
Uber will have ten days to cut off its smartphone apps in Italy, but has said it will appeal the decision.
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The ruling follows a 2015 Italian decision banning the UberPOP service, which was found to encourage unlicensed taxi services. According to the Guardian, that decision left licensed services such as UberBlack intact, but those will now be on the chopping block as well.
Italian taxi drivers have been militant in their agitation against Uber, engaging in coordinated national strikes, advocating for new regulations, and on occasion refusing even to meet with Uber representatives to work towards compromise. As in many other locales, Italian taxis are heavily regulated and must hold operating licenses costing around 200,000 euros. Taxi groups say Uber drivers dodge many of the costs and regulations impacting taxis, putting taxi drivers at a competitive disadvantage.
The Italian ban continues a steady rhythm of both cities and nations tightening regulations on Uber, though few have instituted such sweeping restrictions. Locales where Uber has been restricted by regulation include Austin, Texas and Barcelona, Spain, while national authorities in France and Germany have rejected versions of the platform that facilitate the use of unlicensed drivers.