Italy issues a nationwide Uber ban

Uber’s latest regulatory roadblock happens to be the entire country of Italy. In a court ruling issued today, all of Uber’s services were banned in the European country after a Rome judge ruled in favor of Italy’s major taxi associations that the ride-hailing service amounted to unfair competition, according to a report from Reuters. That means Uber’s Black, Lux, Suv, X, XL, Select, and Van services are all blocked from operating in Italy, and Uber cannot advertise at all in the country.

“We’re shocked,” Uber’s lawyers said in a statement obtained by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. “We will appeal this ruling that is based on a 25-year-old law. Now the government can’t waste more time and needs to decide whether it wants to remain anchored to the past, protecting privileged profits, or whether it wants to allow Italian to benefit from new technologies.”

The lawyers for Italy’s top taxi associations were a bit more celebratory. “This is the fourth ruling by an Italian judge that ascertains Uber’s unfair competition, the latest battle in a legal war that began in 2015 to stop the most striking form of unfair competition ever registered on the Italian local public transportation market,” the lawyers told Corriere della Sera.

Uber plans to appeal the ruling. It has 10 days to do either that or cease operating its service in Italy. If it does neither, it faces fines up to $10,600 for every day it continues operating illegally. The news ends another rather rough week for Uber, as the company continues sustaining bad press over its treatment of drivers and female employees and remains stuck in a high-profile legal battle over trade secret theft with Alphabet’s Waymo division.

Comments

In Italy, taxi drivers are a sort of untouchable military force. Nobody can touch their business, penalties being blocked cities and violence.

What about all those illegal cabs, though? I often go to Fiumicino Airport in Rome, and there are always dozens of shady cab drivers preying behind the arrivals fence like a horde of undead. Do they ever crack down on those guys?

Seems like they weren’t welcome. Uber is very anti-union.

Good, there needs to be equal regulations.

Italy is like a Brazil with 2000 old ruins.

And no Jungles…and not such a wide diversity of people… and totally different cuisine.
So not really very like it at all, although Naples is bordering on favela town in some places.

You’re technically correct, but being from Brazil and having been to Naples last year I know exactly what he means. It feels very similar. Naples is chaotic, nobody speaks English, and everyone tries to scam you the entire time, particularly taxi drivers.

Naples isn’t typical of the rest of Italy.

"A 25-year old law": this recurrent argument is getting old with its stupidity. How old is the US Constitution? Does it make it archaic?

To be fair the law is rather antiquated, it requires a driver to return to its office after each fare. This is impractical in the modern era, even for traditional taxis.

Also, aren’t US laws framed around the constitution. There aren’t specific laws stated, they just guide what laws can and can’t do.

Actually the 1992 text of the law only mandated for the request to be received at the office (meaning, in practice, that rides have to be reserved, not just hailed, which is the main difference between NCCs and taxis), it didn’t specify the initial location of the vehicle. That’s from a 2009 amendment, and it’s meant to force drivers to operate under the city council which gave them the license, and not anywhere they want. Which is certainly impractical.

Regardless of if the law is antiquated or not, maybe Uber shouldn’t base their entire business in a country on breaking it, and then act surprised when the government isn’t too happy about it?

It’s just another example in Uber’s constant disregard for laws and regulations in just about every market they operate in.

I understand, but it doesn’t have much to do with its age. It could be 5 or 10 or 70 years and be antiquated. Heck, laws under discussion in legislative bodies can be antiquated! Think for example when they deny certain scientific consensus…

Time to move to Italy and start Rebu. An online, GPS-based hitchhiking app that may also facilitate the transfer of "gas money".

BlaBla Car is already quite popular.

What needs to happen is for countries, states, municipalities, whatever to pass laws setting the rates to equal those of cabs. Force them to compete on service, not on investor-subsidized prices, and the taxi companies can’t rightly complain.

investor subsidied fines for refusing to respect anybody

Simply, when Uber is a Taxi service, and should play by the rules for Taxis in that part of the world.

But there’s more money in hijacking the system

Marxism, it works so well. /SarcasmOff

Your understanding of Marxism would appear to be fundamentally flawed.

What I think you mean is "regulation," which the Taxis already have to operate under. Uber and Lyft have been operating with almost no regulation in most of the country and world for years while their competition has a century of of it in place. You can argue the necessity of the regulation, but as that is entirely unlikely to lead to any kind of repeal, the only market solution that creates fair competition between all parties is to require they all operate under the same regulatory burden.

Also, his coding looks a bit shaky to me.

What’s gonna happen when driverless car services (and driverless delivery services) hit Italy? The taxi industry is doomed. Technology can’t be kept at bay indefinitely when it’s so obviously attractive to people willing tp pay.

Driverless cars will provide huuuge economic benefits to countries that adopt it first (mainly because once mainstream, it will provide excellent low-cost, relatively safe, last mile transportation, leading to a more mobile workforce. Lot of information on how effective mass transport benefits economies, won’t fill up the entire comment detailing how).

So countries with driverless cars will notice slightly accelerated economic growth and development, while countries that don’t will lag behind. Ultimately, government’s may be inefficient, but they know how to get their acts together when needed. Once they recognize the economic benefits of autonomous transport, almost every government will be scrambling to ensure it can work in their country.

Thus, the Italian taxi drivers will get screwed, sooner or later.

The problem isn’t the technology shift, but the unfair pricing. Uber uses investor money to subsidize their prices down to a level that a Taxi driver simply can’t compete on, and in fact legally can’t due to many cities/municipalities setting price ceilings and floors for all taxi services. Their strategy is to take over enough of the market and drive enough of the taxis out of business, that they can hike up prices when they eventually roll out their self-driving fleet without any competition to stop them.

Italy isn’t exactly known for being progressive. I fully expect them to be protectionist and work very hard at preventing AI cars from taking market share.

The EU-wide mobile internet pricing that will go into effect this year is another great example of this. The idea is that you’ll be able to use your local plan in the whole EU. The problem is that the wholesale data price was decided at 50 €/GB (!!). This is mainly due to southern countries like Italy where internet costs a lot. Northern countries are very upset about this, because internet is a lot cheaper here. For example in my country, Estonia, mobile internet costs 0.70 €/GB. This means that when I go to Italy and use mobile internet, my provider would have to buy Italian internet for 50 €/GB while only charging me 70 cents for it. Not exactly sustainable.

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