Belgian court bans Uber in Brussels – reports
A Belgian commercial court has supported local taxi firms and said that world-famous Uber services are outlawed in Brussels, according to local media reports citing the court decision.
The court order was issued on December 18 by the Dutch-speaking tribunal of commerce, Belgian news outlets La Libre Belgique and La Derniere Heure said on Thursday. The ruling allows only drivers with a Brussels taxi license and a special lamp light on the roof to operate in the Belgian capital, which hosts headquarters of NATO and EU Commission as well as offices of many other key international organizations.
Each noncompliance may result in a €10,000 ($11,300) fine for the platform, local media said.
The move is aimed to clarify a decision originally made in 2015, which ordered the US-based company to close its low-cost service with unprofessional drivers, Uberpop, in Brussels while the more expensive UberX service remained unaffected. The December order apparently targets all Uber services, however, the French-speaking side is still considering the case.
Meanwhile, a local taxi firm blames Uber for interpreting the 2015 court decision in its own way to continue operations, RTL reported citing head of Taxis Verts Michel Petre.
Uber says the move has no immediate effect on its activities, the company’s lawyer in Belgium, Etienne Kairis, told La Derniere Heure. He also believes that “there is no reason” to block UberX.
The Silicon Valley start-up has long been at loggerheads with local taxi firms across European countries. The governments of the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Germany sided with traditional taxis that claim the service does not follow local transportation rules and partially banned it. Some countries fully outlawed the popular app, including Hungary and Bulgaria.
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