An Italian court recently decided to impose a ban on operations performed by unlicensed car-sharing services offered by companies such as America’s Uber Technologies.
The fast-growing ride sharing service has been expanding rapidly around the world, valued by investors at levels that befit giant Internet companies, but the car hailing operator is facing increasing regulatory issues, as the Italian setback shows. With an application that allows anyone using a smartphone to call out for a ride, Uber has been widely popular in every city it started to operate, mainly among those who are seeking out ways to lower the cost of taxi rides. But the inroads triggered wide protests from regular taxi and limousine operators, threatened by the service that is easy to use and doesn’t need its drivers to undergo a lengthy and costly licensing procedure. In Europe, taxi drivers and companies are heavily regulated a license to operate a taxi can cost as much as 200,000 euros.
The court in Italy, in the city of Milan – the country’s traditional business center – decided that Uber’s POP service, which allows the connection between the drivers and users through the very easy to use smartphone mobile application, would bring “unfair competition”. The ruling was given after taxi associations petitioned, adding that using Uber’s POP service was now banned, while paid car-ride services by unlicensed drivers is also forbidden. Uber still has the Black service, which uses licensed drivers, but it had to abide the court’s ruling in case of the Pop service.