New York City has temporarily banned some of Uber’s bases there, but it shouldn’t affect service, the company says.
Five of the six bases run by the taxi service were suspended by the city’s taxi and limousine tribunal last month after Uber refused to hand over ride records.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) was requesting that Uber hand over “the date of trip, time of trip, pick up location, and license numbers” over a finite period. The TLC’s authority to request ride information comes from a rule that says “a Licensee must truthfully answer all questions and comply with all communications, directives, and summonses from the Commission or its representatives.”
Uber argued unsuccessfully that the TLC’s directive was a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. The TLC says its rule is “necessary to ensure adequate protection and public safety,” according to the decision.
An Uber representative told Business Insider that operations would not be affected by the ban.
Here’s what Uber had to say about the TLC’s decision: “Uber continues to operate legally in New York City, with tens of thousands of partner drivers and hundreds of thousands of riders relying on the Uber platform for economic opportunity and safe, reliable rides. We are continuing a dialogue with the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission on these issues.”
A group of 45 Philadelphia taxi companies filed suit in federal court in Pennsylvania alleging that Uber is waging unfair competition against medallion owners who must operate under state laws and regulations.
Lead litigant Checker Cab Philadelphia and the other cab operators accused Uber of racketeering.
“Not since the days of bootlegging has there been a criminal enterprise so brazen and open as to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in investment from investment bankers and to operate in blatant violation of federal and state law as Uber,” reads the complaint. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in December, Checker Cab Philadelphia and the plaintiffs group sued Uber; its chief executive officer, Travis Kalanick; Delaware-registered entities tied to Uber; and Google Ventures, which has invested $258 million in Uber.
The suit also names 18 individuals, including Uber drivers it says are operating illegally in the city.
Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission recently allowed the cheaper car service UberX to operate in the state, but not in Philadelphia, where taxis are regulated by the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
Citing financial and reputation damage and loss of sales, among other claims, Checker and the plaintiffs group contend the UberX drivers are operating an illegal enterprise under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO, damaging the value of taxi medallions.
A taxi medallion in Philadelphia currently costs about $520,000. The total value of the medallions that allow cabs to operate in the city is about $880 million, according to one figure cited in the lawsuit.
As a result of the “unlawful competition of these defendants, the medallion taxicab plaintiffs suffered a significant reduction in the value of their medallions,” the suit said.
The company is operating in the Pittsburgh area under temporary authority from the Pennsylvania PUC and Uber and other ride-sharing services face legal and regulatory challenges in many U.S. cities.
A group of Boston taxi drivers is suing the city, saying officials have violated their rights by allowing the likes of Uber and Lyft to operate without licences.
Drivers are demanding damages and more oversight in a suit filed against the city of Boston at a federal court in the city.
Drivers Raphael Ophir and Joseph Pierre, as well as industry group the Boston Taxi Owners’ Association, launched the action.
According to the Boston Globe, they complain that while they have to buy expensive taxi medallions for their cars, Uber drivers do not.
Taxi drivers say this violates the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal treatment under the law, because it applies different rules to similar services. The suit said: “The City has permitted the de facto taxi companies to flout the law with open impunity by deploying an invasion of unlicensed cars and drivers with no requirement of any medallion.”
Uber has historically responded to such complaints by saying it is a technology company which connects riders and customers, rather than directly providing transportation.
A city spokeswoman said officials hadn’t received the complaint at that point and officials will review it. A city advisory commission has been examining the regulations.
The lawsuit also challenges proposed state rules to have the Department of Public Utilities regulate ride-hailing services as ‘transportation network companies’.
The legislature hasn’t approved the proposal. The lawsuit asks a judge to stop the state from enacting it.
The action is part of a series of legal struggles over Uber, which has been banned in Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon. Legal decisions are also awaited in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Pennsylvania over whether the company can operate.
Uber has restarted services in India’s capital after a ban following rape allegations against one of its drivers. Reuters, quoting a government official, said Uber remained blacklisted. “They don’t have a licence yet, they have only applied for it.”
Financialexpress.com reports that Uber’s app showed taxis available in New Delhi on Friday 23 January, after the company applied for a radio taxi licence, a spokesman said. In December, the company said traditional radio taxi regulations were incompatible with a disruptive technology company that connects passengers with drivers.
Uber said it would introduce additional safety measures including more stringent driver checks, an in-app emergency button and a dedicated incident response team. “We are setting an even higher standard than current industry requirements,” Uber said in a statement. “Our commitment to make transportation safe in Indian cities has never been more absolute.”
India is Uber’s largest market outside of the United States by number of cities covered, and the country’s radio taxi market is estimated to be worth $6 billion to $9 billion.
The chief executive of Uber has said he wants to make 2015 a year of rapid expansion in Europe. BBC News reports that Travis Kalanick told a conference in Munich that Uber could create 50,000 jobs as part of a “new partnership” with European cities. Mr Kalanick’s comments were seen as a bid to build bridges with critics who have accused Uber of flouting competition rules and of not carrying out sufficient safety checks on drivers and their vehicles.
Some of the criticisms of Uber have provoked a combative response from the company, with Mr Kalanick a frequent critic of the red tape and regulation that he says cities use to protect the interests of entrenched taxi firms.
But Mr Kalanick told the DLD conference for the media and tech industry: “Uber is committed to establishing new partnerships with Europe’s cities to ensure innovation, harness powerful economic benefits and promote core city functions.”
He acknowledged the need for rules and safety checks for drivers, saying it had been “easy to say something flippantly negative about every law” in the past. Uber is working with governments on new rules to ensure public safety is protected, choice and competition thrive and economic growth and tax revenue rise, the chief executive said.
He said that Uber is developing new technology tools that improve safety and do background checks, and “improve communication with local officials and law enforcement.” And he said that city authorities that free up Uber’s service would see the creation of thousands of jobs and higher tax revenues. “At the end of 2015, if we can make these partnerships happen, we create 50,000 new EU jobs,” Mr Kalanick said. “Uber wants to partner closely with tax authorities to increase transportation providers’ compliance and overall tax revenue for cities and countries across Europe,” he added.
South Korean prosecutors have indicted the founder of Uber, Travis Kalanick, for operating an illegal taxi service in the country.
According to the Verge.com, the formal accusation against Kalanick and another man, a local rental car service operator, was made without physical detention. Yonhap News says that violators of the Korean law in question, which stops rental car services from offering paid passenger transport, could face a fine of up to 20m won ($18,121), or up to two years in jail.
Uber officially launched in the South Korean capital city of Seoul in August 2013, after a test phase that began in June, but only started trialling its UberX service - which pays private drivers for using their own car as a taxi - in August last year. The ride-sharing service faced anger from local taxi drivers, upset that amateur drivers were undercutting their fares. Where Uber doesn’t require that its UberX drivers have any special licenses, private Seoul taxi drivers can reportedly expect to pay around 70m won ($63,477) for the proper documentation.
The service also faced staunch opposition from local authorities: Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport declared that the ride-sharing app was illegal before it officially launched, and other branches of the administration made it clear that Uber would not be welcome in the country. “As soon as testing phases are over,” a spokesperson for the Seoul city government said in September, “our dedicated squad will begin clamping down on Uber drivers.” The city has made good on the threat, passing an ordinance that offers a 1m won ($910) reward for anyone who reports on Uber’s activities.
Uber said it would fully cooperate with the investigation and was confident the court would uphold a fair and sensible judgment.
Germany’s highest court has declined to hear a complaint brought by Uber over a ban on its activity in the city of Hamburg, dealing a blow to the company. Reuters reports that The Federal Constitutional Court said the complaint was “not accepted for a decision due to lack of admissibility,” a spokesman for the court said last month, adding that the court had given no further justification for its position.
Hamburg’s transport office sent Uber an injunction in July last year that said its drivers needed special licences to transport passengers. An administrative court in Hamburg subsequently rejected Uber’s urgent motion against the ban. Uber had argued it complied with local regulations and its service did not involve professional drivers but rather private persons who did not require a special licence.
The Constitutional Court’s decisions cannot be appealed in Germany and it was not clear what further action Uber could take.
“We take note of the court’s decision and decline further comment,” an Uber spokesman said.