Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation Businesses Government

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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

Comments Filter:
  • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @10:21PM (#47675079) Homepage Journal

    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,"
    There is a law. German wide. Which says: to transport people commercially you need a "commercial transport license". Just like a pilot with a PPL may not commercially transport persons but needs a commercial transport license. Heck, even if you drive a mini bus with more than 7 passengers _privately_ you need a "personell transport license".

    This is not an "anti Uber law", this is law valid for every citizen or corporation.

    Trying to make a law suit against current valid law is just idiotic. Try to change the law instead, well if you can.

    If Uber wants to do business they should "hire" 'professional drivers' who have the same professional education other 'cap' or 'bus' drivers have.

    • Hahaha, you make it sound as if "being licensed" has some implication of advanced skill.

      The govt in this case doesn't care about that, they want their licensing money back.

      • by bayankaran (446245) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @10:41PM (#47675149) Homepage

        The govt in this case doesn't care about that, they want their licensing money back.

        You are right. But then without tax and revenue from licensing how will the government function?
        We can always argue whether a specific regulation is needed or not, but are you are using the usual "small government", "starve the beast" idea?

        • by mysidia (191772)

          You are right. But then without tax and revenue from licensing how will the government function?

          They will get their money.... if not from licensing, then from catching and exorbitantly fining people who are supposed to have licensinsg but don't.

        • You are right. But then without tax and revenue from licensing how will the government function?

          I'm not sure you wrote that correctly, but without tax and revenue from licensing, there are plenty of options.....income tax being a common one.

        • As an American who actually payed attention in History and Civics classes, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that regulating business practices is one of the few things our government was actually established to do, due in large part to the shady practices that King George allowed corporations like the East India Tea Company to use on colonists.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2014 @10:51PM (#47675187)

        I don't see words like "skill", "competence", or "quality" in the GP's comment. So how the fuck is it making the implication that you've incorrectly claimed it's making? Oh, that's right, it isn't. Did you even read that goddamn comment before you replied to it?

        The motivation behind such regulation is irrelevant. Maybe it's about quality. Maybe it's about money. Maybe it's about both. It doesn't fucking matter. What does matter is that the regulations exist, they're enforced against everybody, and if you're going to involve yourself or your business in such activities then you're going to have to abide by such regulations.

        Please don't pollute our discussion with your bullshit about "implications" that obviously aren't even being made. If you can't handle the mature, intelligent, adult discussion we're engaging in here, then please drag your sorry ass back to reddit.

        • by poity (465672)

          Anti-establishment pro-disruptive technology Slashdot suddenly become strict stickers of "Da Law"
          And all it took was for the issue to involve a non-US city.

          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, or that taxi companies wanted to strike? What happened to those angry tirades about government-business collusion, regulatory capture, and backwater anti-competitive provincialism? Are those just pr

          • People are just getting into the office in Europe so all the moderation and comments may be skewed at the moment toward them. Europeans to a much greater degree seem to interpret regulations and protections as a blanket keeping them warm and safe. In the states we get the same 'blanket' but our interpretation is different. Maybe we were cold maybe we weren't but we never asked for a blanket, can't move very well and what kind of weirdo just walks up and tries someone up in a blanket? Any moment the blan
          • by N1AK (864906) on Friday August 15, 2014 @05:32AM (#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 Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @11:01PM (#47675231)

        liability coverage is needed
        http://www.sfgate.com/news/art... [sfgate.com]

        victims should not be holding the bag when drivers like this have insurance that uses loop holes to get out of covering victims. Taxis and other "commercial transport license" drivers have insurance that covers them all the time.

        • Like most things in real life, there is nuance to that case.

          The companies DO provide insurance. $1M in coverage, but it is only in effect from the time the ride is accepted to the time the passengers exit. That situation was an edge case, an auto/pedestrian collision right at the border of that time, immediately before the passenger was in the car. They denied coverage because the event happened immediately before coverage took effect. Much like having an insurance policy that takes effect October 1st and

          • September has 30 days.
            So that "immediately prior" to October 1st, should probably be September 30th.
            Not September 29th.
            Just sayin.

          • Like most things in real life, there is nuance to that case./quote>

            Did her bag of skittles look like a weapon?

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by mysidia (191772)

          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 i

          • by mjwx (966435) on Friday August 15, 2014 @02:21AM (#47675801)

            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.

            this is bullshit.

            Bolding parts of it doesn't make is less bullshit.

            Liability insurance for commercial drivers is mandatory in most places for this very reason. Further more in many places third party injury insurance is mandatory for all drivers for this very reason.

            Maybe you in your libertarian delusions can go and explain to family of the girl who died because of this driver that it's a fact of life and they should be happy for that.

            Furthemore INSURANCE WOULD NOT HELP, even if he had it. The girl is dead, period, full stop. There is no insurance payout here.

            Actually there is a very big payout for death.

            But what about the next time when a person isn't killed, just permanently disabled. You could go along then and explain it's a fact of life.

            Or maybe the drivers could get liability insurance seeing as they're using their cars for commercial purposes. Then again, that would mean their services wouldn't be cheaper than a regular taxi.

          • by traycerb (728174)

            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.

            Or maybe an inattentive driver, as even if he's not picking up a passenger, by being an Uber driver, he by necessity has to have his phone with him and will need to actively check it while driving.

          • by Splab (574204)

            Sorry but you are wrong.

            If a driver hits you and doesn't have insurance, your own insurance company will cover you and they in turn will do civil suits against the driver to get reimbursement. (This isn't the US, you guys get screwed by your government and insurance companies, we do less so here in Europe)

        • by mjwx (966435)

          liability coverage is needed
          http://www.sfgate.com/news/art... [sfgate.com]

          victims should not be holding the bag when drivers like this have insurance that uses loop holes to get out of covering victims. Taxis and other "commercial transport license" drivers have insurance that covers them all the time.

          In Australia an Uber driver with private car insurance (meaning all of them) would still have the claims paid out (except that of the Uber driver, because he violated the terms of the policy). However the insurer would be free to go after any assets the driver has and any assets Uber has as compensation.

          I'd wager Germany would be similar.

      • I think you are wrong in this case, particularly as the case is in Germany. In the US getting into a cab is pretty horrific experience at the best of times, my experience has been several white knuckle drives where I have actually said to the driver I will tip him if he slows down, or taxis that simply aren't clean.

        In Germany my experience has been taxis arriving on time, driven well and immaculately clean. Having legislated taxi services can mean that your drivers are vetted to a higher level (ie police

      • by westlake (615356) on Friday August 15, 2014 @01:27AM (#47675665)

        Hahaha, you make it sound as if "being licensed" has some implication of advanced skill.

        and maybe you don't know as much as you think you do:

        The following are required by 1st time applicants for a Personenbeforderungsschein

        Formal Application Antrag (obtained at the driver licensing office, usually the Road Traffic Office of the Community or Parish)

        Personalausweis or passport (in combination with a valid personal registration)

        Fuhrerschein (only the standard EU-Driving Licence is acceptable)

        Medical Report from a Doctor specialised in ''Arbeitsmedizin'' or a Dr. with a qualification in ''Betriebsmedizin'' or a Report from a Reporting Institute for physical and mental driving competence. Info regarding which Drs. can do this is given by the Road Traffic Office. (The diagnostics relate to Stress, Reaction and Perception testing.)

        Opticians Report or Certificate

        Medical confirmation of Physical and Mental ability.

        Fuhrungszeugnis (Criminal Record Report) with NO entries (for Official use only)

        Extract from the Central Traffic Register Kraftfahrt-Bundesamtes in Flensburg

        Ortskenntnisnachweis Proof of Knowledge (for the relevant district for Hire cars in Communities with population over 50.000).

        Questions are to be answered regarding Places of Interest, Public Buildings, City districts. Generally routes will also be tested by giving starting and finishing points and allowing the candidate to describe the shortest route. Usually the Taxi company intending to employ the candidate will assist with the preparation for this test.

        Knowledge test for taxi drivers in Germany. Is there one? Advice on working as a cabbie. [toytowngermany.com]
        [Germany's English-speaking crowd. May 2010]

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Application: We have taxi licensing here, too. which also requires registration and a driving license. Won't require a physical, but national health insurance will probably change that. Already requires that you can see, which is part of the driving licensing test. Already requires that we're assumed to be physically and mentally able to drive, which is part of the driving licensing test (supposedly. Yes ours are woefully bad.) A criminal record will not automatically disqualify you, which is a good thing,

      • by mvdwege (243851) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Friday August 15, 2014 @03:25AM (#47675925) Homepage Journal

        Hahaha, you make it sound as if "being licensed" has some implication of advanced skill.

        In Germany? You bet it does.

        I wish people would stop projecting American incompetence at running government services on the rest of the world.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Hahaha, you make it sound as if "being licensed" has some implication of advanced skill.

          In Germany? You bet it does. I wish people would stop projecting American incompetence at running government services on the rest of the world.

          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.

          • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday August 15, 2014 @07:37AM (#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 gsslay (807818)

        It has nothing to do with skill. "Being licensed" has some implication (however imperfect it may be) of being insured and being a known citizen, with a history of following the rules of the road and laws in general.

        Not being licensed means you could be an uninsured, unidentifiable, homicidal maniac fresh out of prison. Personally I'd prefer some kind of means of avoiding getting in a car alone with these people.

    • by qpqp (1969898)

      to transport people commercially you need a "commercial transport license"

      Unless you're just sharing the cost [mitfahrgelegenheit.de].

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      sure, if you don't equate commercial transport license to "Taxi medallion more costly than the car itself".

      Which is fairly common.

      and really, the places where it's like that is where the taxis are lobbying for banning uber. it would be rather easy to check out available uber taxis and check if they have license or not and smack them with the appropriate fines if not. but if you want to protect your roaming or taxi pole mafia, then you need to ban the whole concept.

      • sure, if you don't equate commercial transport license to "Taxi medallion more costly than the car itself".

        The taxi medallion is more costly than the pants the owner wears as well, but it still doesn't mean shit.

        The medallion is a license - the car is the tool. The two have no link other than you use the tool under the license.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      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,"

      There is a law. German wide. Which says: to transport people commercially you need a "commercial transport license".

      So although you just acknowledged that Berlin deliberately denies its choice and mobility by presenting the proof thereof, Uber is retarded?

      This is not an "anti Uber law", this is law valid for every citizen or corporation.

      Yes, a law which deliberately denies choice and mobility specifically for the purpose of profit protectionism. Just like Uber says.

      If Uber wants to do business they should "hire" 'professional drivers'

      That's not what Uber does. Uber enables citizens to do business, and they get a cut for enabling that business. Except, of course, in places which deny their citizens choice and mobility in pursuit of profit.

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @10:29PM (#47675117) Homepage Journal

    at least in Berlin...

  • by fred911 (83970) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @10:35PM (#47675129)

    First off TFA is about as weak on details as it is in verb conjugation. And we just clip and paste without editing?

      What is proper insurance cover(age)? Are the limits too low, or not commercially based? Or not vetted properly?

      Quite honestly, I've never "Ubered" a substandard ride. I've had a few tardy ones I canceled, sans expense. Nothing compared to ANY taxi service. When I "Uber" a ride I get immaculately clean vehicles, professionally dressed drivers who own high end vehicles. Compared to a possible slacker, who's leased a 200k mile sled with vinyl seats and a plexiglas separator, talking on his bluetooth earpiece and bitching when I want to settle with a card and not cash.

      It would sure be nice to read an article with USEFUL UTILITY (not to mention an edited summary).

     

    • by Guspaz (556486)

      When I "Uber" a ride, I get a regular taxi. They call it "uberTAXI", and it's the only service available in the second largest city in Canada. A regular taxi shows up, and you get billed the regulated meter rate.

      About the only advantage is that Uber's app is probably more reliable/better than the very similar apps used by existing taxi companies in Montreal. I've had Diamond Taxi's app crap out on me after ordering a few times, and the GPS on the taxi only updates infrequently.

    • by Jahta (1141213)

      First off TFA is about as weak on details as it is in verb conjugation. And we just clip and paste without editing?

      What is proper insurance cover(age)? Are the limits too low, or not commercially based? Or not vetted properly?

      TFA was clear enough. Licensed taxi drivers (certainly in most EU countries) are expected to demonstrate a level of competence and suitability to operate as a commercial driver; e.g. must not have a criminal record, must pass an advanced driving test, must pass a medical, must have proper commercial vehicle insurance, etc. And it is illegal to transport passengers for money without a commercial license and commercial vehicle insurance.

      Uber's position is that anybody who downloads their app can call themsel

  • by JanneM (7445) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @10:47PM (#47675177) Homepage

    I don't know why Uber is complaining. All they need to do, after all, is to recruit drivers with a commercial license; require the vehicles to comply to commercial safety standards; and provide the needed insurance. It's not as if the deck is stacked against them - the other services they compete against all follow the same rules.

    For my part as a potential user, liability is the real issue. I would never risk taking a car service where I'm not fully covered in the case of an accident. It's not just medical and other costs for myself; if the driver is not licensed you, as the one paying for the ride, may be regarded as co-responsible if your driver caused the accident in the first place. You want to risk hundreds of thousands of Euro in damages to save a few bucks on a taxi ride?

    • I don't know why Uber is complaining. All they need to do, after all, is to recruit drivers with a commercial license;

      In Germany, if they carry less than 8 passengers and if their vehicles are below a certain weight, then they don't need to take a different driving test [tuev-sued.de].

      What they do need however is a license to operate a taxi, and that's determined locally, with a criminal background/medical/eyes check, and a very stringent but outdated local geography test that has been rendered completely useless by mobile applications such as Google Maps Navigation and Waze.

      For my part as a potential user, liability is the real issue. I would never risk taking a car service where I'm not fully covered in the case of an accident.

      In the US, Uber covers you for up to one million dollars. [uber.com] For

      • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @11:53PM (#47675413) Homepage Journal

        In Germany, if they carry less than 8 passengers and if their vehicles are below a certain weight, then they don't need to take a different driving test.
        That is incorrect. This is only valid if you don't commercially transport passengers.
        If you actually do transport passengers comercially, you need an extra driving license, and you need the same extra license if you transport more than 7 or 8 people _non_ commercially (in one vehicle) like e.g. if you bring boy scouts into a camp. Every bus driver bringing kids to school has such a license!

        outdated local geography test that has been rendered completely useless by mobile applications such as Google Maps Navigation and Waze.
        Well, I usualy have trips that are not longer than 15 minutes, and I appreciate it if the driver does not need 2 mins to set up the navigation first, especially if the spelling of the target is odd.

        In the US, Uber covers you for up to one million dollars.
        Erm, do you actually own a car? I guess not.
        My private, standard, insurance for my private car, with no intent to be used commercially is insured up to 10 million Euro (damage to persons). That is a very normal rate, I doubt you can even get a lower one.

        My bet is that you'll probably have better coverage when you travel as a passenger/driver with Uber than if you were to drive yourself personally
        Certainly not. Damage to yourself is not covered by your car insurance. That is covered by your health and/or accident insurance or 'out of job insurance' in case you can no longer work.

        • In Germany, if they carry less than 8 passengers and if their vehicles are below a certain weight, then they don't need to take a different driving test.
          That is incorrect. This is only valid if you don't commercially transport passengers.
          If you actually do transport passengers comercially, you need an extra driving license, and you need the same extra license if you transport more than 7 or 8 people _non_ commercially (in one vehicle) like e.g. if you bring boy scouts into a camp. Every bus driver bringing kids to school has such a license!

          I mentioned the term "driving test", not driver license. Also, I provided a source. You didn't. And I did mention that you needed a taxi license in my following paragraph.

          outdated local geography test that has been rendered completely useless by mobile applications such as Google Maps Navigation and Waze.
          Well, I usualy have trips that are not longer than 15 minutes, and I appreciate it if the driver does not need 2 mins to set up the navigation first, especially if the spelling of the target is odd.

          Then you should use Uber then, because you confirm the address on your own mobile phone, everything after that is fully automated, and the Uber driver doesn't have to set up anything.

          In the US, Uber covers you for up to one million dollars.
          Erm, do you actually own a car? I guess not.

          I do, but only in California. The minimum mandatory coverage in California is actually crazy small.
          $15,000 for injury/death to one person
          $30,000 for injury/d

      • by JanneM (7445)

        What they do need however is a license to operate a taxi, and that's determined locally, with a criminal background/medical/eyes check, and a very stringent but outdated local geography test that has been rendered completely useless by mobile applications such as Google Maps Navigation and Waze.

        So require that the drivers have it, outdated or not. It's required by all commercial passenger traffic so it's not as f it discriminates against Uber after all. If they really don't like it, they're free to lobby an

        • It's required by all commercial passenger traffic so it's not as f it discriminates against Uber after all.

          No, the specific geography test I mentioned is only for taxi licensing, not for any other kind of commercial passenger traffic.

          That's a pretty pathetic sum for traffic insurance.

          You got me there.

          The US, California especially, is actually pretty pathetic where it comes to car insurance coverage. In Germany, I would expect Uber's insurance to be much higher.

  • Actually (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2014 @11:02PM (#47675235)

    Uber was banned because it was missing the umlaut.

  • On Yer Bike (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrahamCox (741991) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @11:23PM (#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.
  • What bar are Uber raising? All I can see is a race to the bottom. If I get into a taxi, I want to know that it's insured, up to a reasonable minimum standard of safety and security, that the driver is fully informed of his/her legal obligations, and that if something happens that's suspect, illegal, or just plain wrong, I have official channels to go through that can deal with the issue quickly and effectively. That means every taxi and every driver has to be identifiable and reachable. How else do you ensu

  • Well, I'm not surprised. Germans have been saying for decades that Uber is for Allies, but they're not allowed to talk about that.
  • by Tom (822) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:14AM (#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.

Work without a vision is slavery, Vision without work is a pipe dream, But vision with work is the hope of the world.

Working...