Netherlands prosecuting Uber for ignoring ban
Fri 17 Apr 2015
It seemed for a little while that an entire week might pass without $40bn amateur-taxi service Uber getting into trouble with the authorities in its attempted colonisation plan. But no – the Netherlands has today launched a criminal investigation into Uber’s flouting of a Dutch ban against the company accepting money for the services of unlicensed drivers.
A Dutch ruling banned Uber from operating its UberPOP service early last December, and promised a 100,000 euro fine for any infractions. Uber protested the ruling and, following its customary response behaviour to such edicts, kept operating anyway. At the time of writing, UberPOP is still available as a service on the Uber website.
Today’s statement said: “The company Uber is now a suspect […] This means a preliminary examination will be started to collect evidence that Uber is providing illegal transportation on a commercial basis,” The statement added that Dutch police have issued fines of 1,500 euros to 23 UberPOP drivers infringing the December ban on operating without a license.
There is no ban on Uber working on behalf of properly licensed taxi drivers in the Netherlands, or on offering ‘free rides’.
Dutch prosecutors conducted a raid on Uber’s Netherlands-based offices last month, and the new prosecution follows from evidence from Amsterdam police that dozens of UberPOP drivers are still operating in the capital city.
At this stage we are beginning to wonder if it might not be better to start an ‘Uber-trouble’ wiki than attempt to once again collectively catalogue the PR disasters, civil infractions and complex webs of litigation into which the San Francisco-based company has weaved itself in the previous six months.
Uber is banned in many locations including Thailand, the state of Nevada, the city of Portland, Oregon, and Delhi, the scene of the first of three alleged Uber-based rapes – though in Delhi the company recently initiated an approved auto-rickshaw service. In many locations where Uber is not banned, it remains steeped in controversy, frequently abrading against local regulations as it proceeds on its global mission to take over taxi-service provision in every worthwhile global location. In August of 2014 Uber flouted a ban on operating within Berlin, and in late December French authorities ordered a ban on Uber’s operation in France from January 1st, in the face of a taxi-drivers’ strike about the Uber invasion.