After numerous protests and bans in several European countries, one of on-demand car service Uber’s most popular features was banned across Germany in late August. The ban has now been lifted, according to Uber.
Updated on 9-16-2014 by Malarie Gokey: The Frankfurt court lifted its country-wide ban on Uber Pop on September 16.
The German taxi driver association Taxi Deutschland stated that it plans to appeal the decision to overturn the ban. “The taxi industry accepts competitors who comply with the law. Uber does not,” the organization said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Uber applauded the decision. “Uber Pop is revolutionizing transport in cities and beyond by helping to create smarter cities with more transport choices,” the company said. “Demand is so great all across the country that we expect to double in size by the end of the year and plan to bring Uber to more and more cities across Germany.”
On August 25, a Frankfurt court ruled that the company’s ride-sharing service, which is known as Uber Pop, violates German law and therefore must be suspended indefinitely. The traditional Uber Black luxury taxi service remained operational.
The Frankfurt Regional Court stated that Uber can not allow users in Germany to solicit rides from drivers who lack the required commercial driving licenses to carry passengers. The company’s more high-end Uber Black service is unaffected by the court’s decision. At the time, Germany’s Uber users could still hitch a ride, using the app, they just didn’t have access to the cheaper, ride share option.
In a blog post, Uber stated that it would not suspend service in Germany, in spite of the court’s decision and the potential fee of 250,000 euros, which is almost $330,000. The company accused Taxi Deutschland, the group that filed the lawsuit, of trying to limit competition and innovation. Uber added that it will review and appeal the court’s decision. In the meantime, the company encouraged its German users to use the app as they would normally.
It’s not the first time Uber’s service has suffered problems in Germany. Earlier this month it was previously banned in Berlin for a few days before it returned to normal. The taxi and car-sharing service has inspired controversy in several other European cities, including London, Paris, and Hamburg. Many taxi drivers consider Uber a threat to their livelihood and have spoken out against Uber in many cities around the world.