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Berlin Bans Car Service Uber 341

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-here dept.
An anonymous reader is just one of many who have pointed out that things don't look good for Uber in Berlin. Berlin has banned car service Uber, which allows users to summon a ride on their smartphone, for not offering drivers and vehicles licensed to carry passengers, or full insurance cover, the German capital said. The ban takes immediate effect and Uber risks fines of up to 25,000 euros each time it violates the city's Public Transport Act, Berlin authorities said in a statement. Uber said on Thursday it would appeal against the decision, accusing Berlin of denying its people choice and mobility. "As a new entrant we are bringing much-needed competition to a market that hasn't changed in years. Competition is good for everyone and it raises the bar and ultimately it's the consumer who wins," said Fabien Nestmann, German General Manager at Uber. Undaunted by the setback in Berlin, Uber has launched uberTAXI in Hong Kong.
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Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

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  • On Yer Bike (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrahamCox (741991) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @10:23PM (#47675315) Homepage
    Just get a bike. Berlin is brilliant for cycling. And if you need to transport something big, just call up any of the many taxi-like services that will take it home in a van for you.
  • by qpqp (1969898) on Friday August 15, 2014 @12:02AM (#47675597)

    How about that airplane you travel on?

    You mean, like Airbus [wikipedia.org],Iliushin [wikipedia.org], Tupolev [wikipedia.org], and [wikipedia.org] a [wikipedia.org] few others [wikipedia.org]? Or are you talking about Sir George Cayley [wikipedia.org]?

    Enjoying that computer you're using? Americans invented that.

    Have a look at this [wikipedia.org] please.
    Europe's got the brains and US has^H^H^Hhad the money.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Friday August 15, 2014 @12:06AM (#47675613)

    victims should not be holding the bag when drivers like this have insurance that uses loop holes to get out of covering victims.

    This is already a fact of life for everyone. If some driver runs into you and doesn't have the proper insurance, you could be on the hook financially.

    The driver in that case (who should be in jail) ran over the girl not because he was an Uber driver, BUT just because he was a negligent driver on the road at the time.

    Furthemore INSURANCE WOULD NOT HELP, even if he had it. The girl is dead, period, full stop. There is no insurance payout here. There is no amount of money you can pay to a family to bring their child back to life.

    So, anyways, it makes perfect sense that Uber only needs to provide insurance, when the driver is actually operating the vehicle commercially ---- that is, driving to make a pickup, and then picking up and transporting the passenger, until the passengers are fully dropped off.

    Taxi companies need to provide insurance all the time, because They own the vehicle, and the driver is their employee.. An employee operating a company owned vehicle FOR ANY COMPANY, exposes the company to liability for whatever happens while they are operating company property. Even if the trip is personal and not related to business.

    It's quite different if the company doesn't own the vehicle, and it's usually not being driven for business purposes.

  • by N1AK (864906) on Friday August 15, 2014 @02:55AM (#47676011) Homepage

    I travel all over Europe and Asian as part of job and for personal reasons and I have learned one thing..NEVER take unofficial taxis. EVER.

    Which is why I don't get the concern about Uber etc. I travel abroad plenty and finding out what official taxis are, how to make sure it is an official taxi, how to check they are doing what an official taxi should etc is a lot of work and still has risks. With a system like Ubers I know that the car I'm calling is part of their network, would be kicked off rapidly if they don't follow Uber's rules etc. I've only used Uber a couple of times and in places where I know the official taxis are legit, but I'd probably feel safer taking an Uber ride in Thailand than finding an official taxi.

  • by N1AK (864906) on Friday August 15, 2014 @04:32AM (#47676175) Homepage

    What happened to all the voices in those past Lyft/Uber threads talking about how stupid it was that some US cities were thinking of limiting these startups,

    There's a difference between some cities trying to block Uber because it undermines the outdated medallion concept, and a city having reasonable requirements to offer a commercial transportation service and expecting it to be followed. You might feel that Berlin's public transport act is unreasonable, though I doubt you have any idea what's in it, but if the locals think that it is reasonable then it is perfectly reasonable for the government to expect companies to follow it. It seems that Berlin's issues are primarily that passangers may not be adequately insured and that Uber may not be checking that all drivers are licensed (which includes checks on criminal record, health and driving record) which don't seem unreasonable to me. I don't want services like Uber to accept drivers that meet a certain standard!

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday August 15, 2014 @06:37AM (#47676489) Journal

    Actually, I read it as assuming competence where there in fact is none. Europeans brag about how much testing they have to go through before they can get licensed, as if they all had to be exemplary drivers just to get a license. Now you're telling us that this isn't true, that the average driver isn't capable of driving a car. Which is it? Make up your fucking mind.

    I did my test in London and lived in New Mexico for a few years. If you believe the English driving test is not substantially harder than the New Mexico one then I have a bridge to sell you. The England one is one of the hardest in the world and has a very substantial failure rate.

    And in Germany, commercial drivers are licensed and required to have an EVEN HIGHER standard of driving than regular drivers.

    And now for the bragging. Here is a table of countries by road fatalities:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Germany and the UK, two countries with strict licensing of various sorts are several times safer than the US when it comes to driving. And those are two countries with a very high population density. If you bring in lower density countries with more adverse driving conditions like Norway the stats get even better.

    Basically stricter driver licensing provably works at making the roads safer.

  • by Tom (822) on Friday August 15, 2014 @07:14AM (#47676601) Homepage Journal

    "As a new entrant we are bringing much-needed competition to a market that hasn't changed in years. Competition is good for everyone and it raises the bar and ultimately it's the consumer who wins,"

    Says the guy who gets to profit. Follow the money - of course he'd say something like that. PR drones are paid for coming up with good reasons why their product is the best thing since sliced bread.

    Actually, sliced bread is pretty awful, but that's a different story.

    The market has changed quite considerably. German startups like MyTaxi are increasingly replacing the old and stupid middlemen with a nice mobile service that connects drivers and passengers directly. There's a bit of competition in that market as well. Then there are the modern car-sharing companies like Car2Go and DriveNow and some others, where you can take any of their cars wherever you find it and can drop it off wherever you go. No need to go to designated parking spots or something. They're basically like a taxi you drive yourself. In a few years, they'll probably have an autonomous car in the mix that you can call on your smartphone and it'll pick you up.

    To say the market is stagnant is a bold piece of PR lies. There have never been so many options for personal transport, changing so quickly.

    Uber is not as revolutionary as it makes itself out to be. But more important: They don't understand the European market, where american wild-west methods of just riding into town and taking what you think is yours by god given rights are not welcome. We have regulations and laws and rules, and we actually quite like them. They make our lives more calm and plannable. Europe has a different culture, less friendly to startups and hotshot ideas, but it also means fewer people crash and burn, and less collateral damage when they do.

    If Uber gave a fuck, they could operate in Berlin. But their attitude - which was visible in other german cities like Hamburg where they also ran into problems - was basically "this is our cool business idea, go and change your laws if you don't like it". I'm not surprised that with that attitude, someone told them to fuck off and die.

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