Germany bans Uber taxi services temporarily

BY Jordan Vesey  September 2, 2014 at 3:46 PM EDT

A Frankfurt court has temporarily banned ridesharing service Uber from being used in Germany.

A spokesperson for the court said on Tuesday that Uber violates the country’s Passenger Transportation Act. The service is suspended nationwide until a full hearing can be arranged to evaluate the suit brought against it by Taxi Deutschland, a Frankfurt-based consortium of taxi companies.

Taxi Deutschland filed the suit amid concerns that the San Francisco start-up avoids rules that traditional taxi companies must follow. Specifically, Uber does not comply with municipal safety and insurance regulations nor does it provide sector benefits or wage agreements to its employees. “The state, society and workers all lose,” Taxi Deutschland said in a statement.

Uber was already barred last month in Berlin due to safety concerns but the nationwide ban is by far the largest legal setback the company has faced. Uber could face fines in Germany of up to $330,000 or its local employees could face jail time if the company violates the temporary injunction.

The court was very careful to emphasize that it would be Uber and its employees, not the Uber drivers, who would face penalties for not adhering to the order.

However, Uber does not seem to be backing down. The company said in a statement to TechCrunch: “You cannot put the brakes on progress. Uber will continue its operations and will offer Uberpop ridesharing services via its app throuhout Germany.”

UberPOP is one tier below UberX and is different than most of the services Uber provides.