Berlin court suspends Uber ban until further notice

Technology -

Ride-sharing services such as Uber face opposition from regulators and transportation rivals nationwide and in several countries.

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The Berlin Administrative Court suspended until further notice a city-imposed Uber ban Aug. 18, a move Uber called "good news for the great people of Berlin." The suspension comes four days after city regulators banned the service, saying they were concerned Uber wasn't using properly licensed drivers.

The suspension of the Berlin ban comes three weeks after a German court temporarily lifted a similar ban imposed upon the company by regulators in Hamburg, Germany's second largest city. The court warned that it would take several weeks before a final decision was made.

Trafalgar Square

Uber has faced resistance throughout several countries over the past few months. Thousands of European taxi drivers went on strike this summer (the largest occurring in London) to protest the company, which they say has an unfair advantage because it doesn't have to follow the same regulations.

Transport for London (TfL), the city's transportation regulator, concluded July 3 that Uber is acting lawfully within the city, and said that it will not pursue legal action against the company. Uber called the decision a "victory for common sense."

France's Senate passed a bill July 23 that would force drivers of ride-sharing services like Uber to return their dispatch center or garage in between fares. The National Assembly, the country's lower house, is expected to vote on the measure this fall. Uber said the law could "completely disrupt" its business model.

Seoul's metropolitan government said July 21 that it would seek to ban Uber because the ride-sharing service is illegal. The government added that it would deploy a similar app of its own this December. Uber said the possible ban shows that Seoul is in "danger of remaining trapped in the past."

With minor revisions, the Seattle City Council on July 14 passed a deal, brokered by the city's mayor in June, to lift an earlier decision by the council to limit cars working with ride-sharing companies to 150 concurrent vehicles. It also sets insurance requirements for ride-sharing vehicles.

Maryland ruled Aug. 6 that Uber is subject to traditional transportation provider regulations, a move the company said could "threaten the Uber you know and love." Uber now has 60 days to apply for permits. Virginia ruled that same day that Uber can operate in the state, two months after it had issued a cease-and-desist.

Uber has in the past argued that it is not a traditional transportation company, and therefore is not subject to regulations governing that industry. Rather, Uber says it's merely a platform provider that links private drivers (who do not work for Uber) with potential riders.

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