Yet another city government is cracking down on the taxi app Uber. The Berlin State Department of Civil and Regulatory Affairs announced that it was banning the use of Uber on safety grounds and would fine the fast-growing startup roughly $33,450 if it continued operations, and will hit Uber drivers with a $26,760 fine for working with the service. This follows an April ban on Uber in Belgium and widespread taxi strikes in London, Paris, and Barcelona, which snarled streets and had local regulators scrambling for solutions. Uber also has operations in Asia, and the local government in Seoul, South Korea has been openly discussing a ban.
The BBC reports that Uber will fight the latest ban. "The decision from the Berlin authorities is not progressive and it's seeking to limit consumer choice for all the wrong reasons," said Fabien Nestmann, general manager of Uber Germany. "As a new entrant we're bringing much-needed competition to a market that hasn't changed in years."
"The decision from the Berlin authorities is not progressive and it's seeking to limit consumer choice for all the wrong reasons."
Uber went through similar growing pains in the United States and is still battling restrictions and potential regulations in cities from Seattle to Boston. Overall, however, it has proved itself a savvy political operator and overturned attempts to ban its service in cities like New York and Washington, DC. The resistance from local government and incumbent players in the taxi industry also seems to have done little to slow the company's explosive growth. It raised $1.2 billion in venture capital funding this June, meaning it has plenty of capital on hand for a protracted legal and political battle. It is reportedly on track to process well over $1 billion in fares this year, of which Uber keeps 20 percent.