Milan court bans UberPop app across Italy

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UberPop has already been banned in Spain and the Netherlands. Taxi photo: Shutterstock
14:32 CEST+02:00
UPDATED: A Milan court has blocked the controversial ride-sharing app UberPop across Italy, citing unfair competition with the country's cab drivers.

In the ruling judge Claudio Marangoni said that the app, which allows non-professional drivers with their own cars to take on passengers at budget rates, was “interfering with the taxi service organized by the companies, offered by those with licences.”

Judge Claudio Marangoni ruled UberPOP was subject to only minor fees compared to the costs taxis have to pay in order to operate and thus was benefitting from unfair competition.

Marangoni, according to press agency AGI, gave Uber 15 days to comply with his ruling. The UberPop application for mobile devices will be shutdown in Italy even if the company appeals the decision.

Italian taxi drivers' groups filed a complaint in mid-April against UberPop.

In a statement sent to The Local, Uber said: “We’re obviously very disappointed by today’s decision regarding UberPop, which we respect.

“We are currently looking into all appeal possibilities, to prevent hundreds of thousands of Italian citizens to be deprived of safe, reliable and affordable mobility solutions. 

“More importantly, thousands of people today risk being prevented from earning additional money, despite youth unemployment rate reaching 42 percent in Italy." 

Uber backed up its business model by citing the European Commission's rules on fairness, proportionality and non-discrimination in regulating technology-based services.

Founded in 2009 in the US and in operation in about 250 cities in 50 countries, Uber has become an object of scorn from traditional taxi companies fighting for survival across Europe.

In March hundreds of taxi drivers from Belgium and France brought central Brussels to a virtual standstill with their vehicles in a protest against the web-based Uber.

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In February over 2,000 taxi drivers converged in Turin for a protest against the mobile app.

The app has already been banned in Spain and the Netherlands and is appealing similar bans in France and Germany.

The company is facing a barrage of legal challenges spurred on by a furious taxi lobby, which says Uber drivers should be regulated the same way as normal cabs.

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