A Commercial Court in Brussels Orders Shutdown on UberPop Ride-Sharing Service

UberPop, the popular ride-hailing service, was ordered by a court in Brussels to cease operation after losing a case against a local taxi firm. The low-rate taxi service based in San Francisco allows drivers without a professional license to transport clientele who enlist rides using a smartphone app. On Thursday, a Belgian commercial court ruled in favor of Taxis Verts and ordered the shutdown of UberPop by October 15. However, UberX, which requires drivers to hold a professional license, will continue to operate.

Being banned from operating in Belgium’s capital is only the latest blow to Uber in Europe. Uber has faced immense hostility from established companies. The ban of UberPop has already been enforced in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. This past week, France’s Constitutional Court upheld a national law which bans ride-sharing, thereby effectively ending halting UberPop’s operation in the country.

Image credit: RudeBaguette
Image credit: RudeBaguette

“We are looking at the implications of this ruling, which hurts hundreds of our driver-partners and tens of thousands of people who have come to rely on UberPop to get around Brussels safely and affordably,” said the company in a statement. “Although UberX is unaffected, we think there is a way for people to have the choice they want.”

All over the globe, taxi companies contend that Uber presents unfair competition since it does not conform to local transportation laws. In addition, Uber services generally provide transportation at lower rates than taxis. Taxi companies who oppose Uber’s business model have picketed in cities around the world.

The two biggest cities in Brazil, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, may soon join the list of major cities around the world banning UberPop. City Councils recently passed laws that would prohibit the operation of Uber and other transportation services. Rio’s mayor is now planning to issue a decision on whether or not veto one of the bills before Tuesday. The mayor in Sao Paulo is expected to make a decision early next month.

Uber has declined to comment on its next move if it were banned, but in other countries, operation sometimes continued despite legal roadblocks and appropriation of vehicles. Nonetheless, the company maintains that the bans in some major cities have cost them little to no setbacks.

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