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Uber to appeal Geneva ban on its car ride app

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Uber to appeal Geneva ban on its car ride app
Photo: Uber
08:20 CEST+02:00
Uber, the mobile app company that allows you to order a car ride from your smartphone, is appealing a ban on its activities in the canton of Geneva.

The cantonal government issued an order at the end of March for the controversial California-based company to cease its operations because they do not comply with regulations for taxis, the ATS news agency reported on Monday.

The order was confirmed by a spokesman for Pierre Maudet, the cantonal cabinet minister responsible for taxis in Geneva, following a report from the Tribune de Genève newspaper.

The commerce department of the canton considers that Uber is acting like a taxi dispatcher and should therefore respect the Genevan law for taxis.

It maintains the company has been aware of the rules of the business since it started offering its services in Geneva in September 2014 but has decided to ignore them, ATS said.

Uber's app links customers customers with professional drivers operating with private-hire licences.

Recently, Geneva tax drivers have mounted the barricades to demand that the canton take measures against Uber, complaining that the industry is suffering from unfair competition.

But the canton could not issue an order earlier because of an administrative procedure it had to follow.

“We are not a dispatch centre for taxis but a technology business that develops IT applications that allow, in a specific market, bringing together supply and demand,” Thomas Meister, a spokesman for Uber in Western Europe, is quoted as saying by ATS.

For Uber, the ban decreed by the canton of Geneva is the equivalent of outlawing emails under the pretext that they infringe on the law for the post office.

The company is planning to appeal the decision through an administrative court, ATS said.

Uber believes it can make inroads in Geneva, which has some of the highest cab fares in Europe, as well as other Swiss cities such as Zurich, Basel and Lausanne.

But the company has faced resistance in other European countries, such as Germany, which banned its low-cost Uber Pop service after German taxi drivers took it to court for violating transport laws.

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