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Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the not-here dept.

Transportation 341

An anonymous reader is just one of many who have pointed out that things don't look good for Uber in Berlin. Berlin has banned car service Uber, which allows users to summon a ride on their smartphone, for not offering drivers and vehicles licensed to carry passengers, or full insurance cover, the German capital said. The ban takes immediate effect and Uber risks fines of up to 25,000 euros each time it violates the city's Public Transport Act, Berlin authorities said in a statement. Uber said on Thursday it would appeal against the decision, accusing Berlin of denying its people choice and mobility. "As a new entrant we are bringing much-needed competition to a market that hasn't changed in years. Competition is good for everyone and it raises the bar and ultimately it's the consumer who wins," said Fabien Nestmann, German General Manager at Uber. Undaunted by the setback in Berlin, Uber has launched uberTAXI in Hong Kong.

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Bugger this (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675061)

These guys seem to be copping a whole lot of shit just for trying to make transport easier for users.

Re: Bugger this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675095)

Uber shill GTFO

Average people just don't like hipsters. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675121)

Uber is often seen as a hipster phenomenon. While it may be a service that is potentially useful to others, it has so far been popularized and hyped by the hipster segment of the population, and is most commonly associated with hipsters.

Average people, as a general rule, do not like hipsters. To everday people, the hipsters come off as very obnoxious, rude, and quite annoying. Hipsters go out of their way to project a "holier-than-thou" attitude, and other people notice and dislike this.

Nobody likes going into a shop, for instance, and then having to deal with the smug, snobby hipsters who work there. Normal people dislike asking a simple question about where to find a product, and getting a rant about social justice or something similar in return, from somebody who dresses solely to look weird and who may very well be wearing glasses without any lenses. All they wanted to know was what aisle to look in!

When people think "Uber", they think "hipster", which immediately brings up these negative connotations. Rightly or wrongly, this (unintentional?) association with hipsters reflects badly on Uber. People are repulsted by hipsters and anything related to hipsters, which unfortunately includes Uber at this time.

If they want to gain widespread acceptance, Uber seriously needs to break this assocation that people have between them and hipsters. People need to think things like convenience, affordability and good service when they hear the name "Uber", rather than thinking of hipsters and the rottenness that hipsters bring.

Re:Average people just don't like hipsters. (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47675143)

lol this is funny but I think Lyft is more strongly associated with hipsters. pink mustaches and fist bumps? I love it cuz I'm not a hipster hater, but whatever.

Re:Average people just don't like hipsters. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675265)

Average people don't differentiate between Uber and Lyft. To the average person, both of them are "that hipster fake taxi company". And the "hipster" part is what drags it down. Average people would put up with casual, unlicensed taxi drivers, especially if the service is better in some ways. But the moment "hipsters" are perceived to be involved, average people want nothing to do with it, and those same average people who make up local governments will want to regulate away the problem.

Re:Average people just don't like hipsters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675459)

Have you managed to get any observations to fit your theory yet adolf quetelet?

Re:Average people just don't like hipsters. (0)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 months ago | (#47675281)

No real person has ever heard of "Lyft".

Re:Average people just don't like hipsters. (5, Informative)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47675325)

No real person has ever heard of "Lyft".

very true. except its a $3.5 billion company with revenues of $100 million / year and service growing 6% per week -> 20x per year, compounded. there must be a lot of unreal people out there.

Re:Average people just don't like hipsters. (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 months ago | (#47675393)

Sounds like Webvan.

Re:Average people just don't like hipsters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675417)

Which is going strong since 2009.

Re:Average people just don't like hipsters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675429)

Sounds like 1999's Webvan, not the new company that bought the trademark and a free sockpuppet for a penny.

Re:Average people just don't like hipsters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675701)

I'm sold! Like Enron, the numbers just can't be wrong.

Re:Average people just don't like hipsters. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675331)

Define "hipster". Or do you mean people who have different tastes and opinions to philistines such as yourself?

Re:Average people just don't like hipsters. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675421)

Why's the parent modded down? It's 100% correct, even if some Hipsters don't like to face the truth. That's just like Hipsters, too. When faced with a reality they don't like, they just resort to censorship. Maybe it works like that at Reddit or Hacker News, but it shouldn't work like that here!

There's more to EU transport than cheapness (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675153)

These guys seem to be copping a whole lot of shit just for trying to make transport easier for users.

No, these guys are copping a whole lot of shit for trying to offer no-standards transport in nations that have minimum standards for their public transport services.

It's not good enough to be cheap in Europe if you don't meet basic standards. The EU has a lot of consumer protection laws designed to look after their residents (now there's a thought), a concept that is completely foreign in the US where it seems that only company profits matter.

If you want to do business in Europe, you don't have any magic right to ignore European legislation and import the US rulebook instead.

Re:There's more to EU transport than cheapness (2)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 months ago | (#47675251)

where's my "insightful" mod points when I need them :(

Re:There's more to EU transport than cheapness (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675317)

It's not good enough to be cheap in Europe if you don't meet basic standards. The EU has a lot of consumer protection laws designed to look after their

So... I'm sure you can cite references that Uber is more dangerous or less competent than the established services, right?

Re:There's more to EU transport than cheapness (2, Insightful)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47675579)

No need to cite anything. They're unregulated by govt and unions so they must be crazy cracked-out beasts. Or so the govt and unions would have you believe.

Re:There's more to EU transport than cheapness (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675399)

That's probably a reason why Euroland trails the US in inventions, innovation and production. Enjoying that computer you're using? Americans invented that. How about that airplane you travel on? Americans invented that.

Re:There's more to EU transport than cheapness (4, Interesting)

qpqp (1969898) | about 2 months ago | (#47675597)

How about that airplane you travel on?

You mean, like Airbus [wikipedia.org] ,Iliushin [wikipedia.org] , Tupolev [wikipedia.org] , and [wikipedia.org] a [wikipedia.org] few others [wikipedia.org] ? Or are you talking about Sir George Cayley [wikipedia.org] ?

Enjoying that computer you're using? Americans invented that.

Have a look at this [wikipedia.org] please.
Europe's got the brains and US has^H^H^Hhad the money.

Re:There's more to EU transport than cheapness (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675645)

The first airplane was created by Orville and Wilbur Wright, American brothers. No other craft was capable of flying prior to this. This is undisputed.

Intel and Texas Instruments, both American companies invented the microprocessor, which is the basis for all modern computers. This too is undisputed.

Love how you Eurotrash are always trying to rewrite history to make you look like you've done anything.

Re:There's more to EU transport than cheapness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675669)

Looks like it's pretty disputed.

There's more to EU transport than cheapness (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675673)

This. IN europe taxis have insurance that actually covers damages to the passengers. Normal car insurances don't cover the use for commercial usage. The very basic level for consumers is _FORCED_ on everyone, because we, as people, rather hae a private company and the users of said taxi services pay for the injuries etc instead of paying for them collectively. (we are not going to leave anyone untreated, even if they have no personal insurance, therefore public transport pays a premiun insurance, because they are responsible for the passengers while they are on board). Nothing wrong with this. I support if fully. That said, I also like uber. Just offer the minimum quality level required and keep going. Can't just ignore laws. These are even very rational laws.

Re: Bugger this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675591)

This is because they feel they don't have to live by the same rules as everyone else driving passengers for money.

Uber is quite retarded (5, Insightful)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47675079)

accusing Berlin of denying its people choice and mobility. "As a new entrant we are bringing much-needed competition to a market that hasn't changed in years. Competition is good for everyone and it raises the bar and ultimately it's the consumer who wins,"
There is a law. German wide. Which says: to transport people commercially you need a "commercial transport license". Just like a pilot with a PPL may not commercially transport persons but needs a commercial transport license. Heck, even if you drive a mini bus with more than 7 passengers _privately_ you need a "personell transport license".

This is not an "anti Uber law", this is law valid for every citizen or corporation.

Trying to make a law suit against current valid law is just idiotic. Try to change the law instead, well if you can.

If Uber wants to do business they should "hire" 'professional drivers' who have the same professional education other 'cap' or 'bus' drivers have.

Re: Uber is quite retarded (2, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 months ago | (#47675123)

Hahaha, you make it sound as if "being licensed" has some implication of advanced skill.

The govt in this case doesn't care about that, they want their licensing money back.

Re: Uber is quite retarded (3, Insightful)

bayankaran (446245) | about 2 months ago | (#47675149)

The govt in this case doesn't care about that, they want their licensing money back.

You are right. But then without tax and revenue from licensing how will the government function?
We can always argue whether a specific regulation is needed or not, but are you are using the usual "small government", "starve the beast" idea?

Re: Uber is quite retarded (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675439)

wat? At no point did anyone say government shouldn't exist. However, this is a perfect example of government bringing nothing to the table, only hurting the economy instead.

If this causes revenue to go down, and the savings from not having to regulate the drivers doesn't match, then increase income/property/capital gains taxes. Problem solved.

Re: Uber is quite retarded (5, Insightful)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about 2 months ago | (#47675657)

Bull. As a citizen of Berlin I'm very happy that the government regulates people working in the transport business.
I don't want to be driven in a bus or car that doesn't conform to safety regulations or by a driver that has been working so many hours that he is sleepy or otherwise not able to safely bring me from A to B.

And if Uber and Lyft ignore the regulations already in place then they have no business doing business.

Re: Uber is quite retarded (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 months ago | (#47675573)

You are right. But then without tax and revenue from licensing how will the government function?

They will get their money.... if not from licensing, then from catching and exorbitantly fining people who are supposed to have licensinsg but don't.

Re: Uber is quite retarded (-1, Troll)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47675587)

The govt in this case doesn't care about that, they want their licensing money back.

You are right. But then without tax and revenue from licensing how will the government function? We can always argue whether a specific regulation is needed or not, but are you are using the usual "small government", "starve the beast" idea?

Lol you're kidding right? How will the politicians and bureaucrats keep living off the hard work of others if their taxing opportunities are narrowed? Looooool

Re: Uber is quite retarded (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 months ago | (#47675631)

You are right. But then without tax and revenue from licensing how will the government function?

I'm not sure you wrote that correctly, but without tax and revenue from licensing, there are plenty of options.....income tax being a common one.

Did you even bother to read the GP's comment? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675187)

I don't see words like "skill", "competence", or "quality" in the GP's comment. So how the fuck is it making the implication that you've incorrectly claimed it's making? Oh, that's right, it isn't. Did you even read that goddamn comment before you replied to it?

The motivation behind such regulation is irrelevant. Maybe it's about quality. Maybe it's about money. Maybe it's about both. It doesn't fucking matter. What does matter is that the regulations exist, they're enforced against everybody, and if you're going to involve yourself or your business in such activities then you're going to have to abide by such regulations.

Please don't pollute our discussion with your bullshit about "implications" that obviously aren't even being made. If you can't handle the mature, intelligent, adult discussion we're engaging in here, then please drag your sorry ass back to reddit.

liability coverage is needed (5, Informative)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 months ago | (#47675231)

liability coverage is needed
http://www.sfgate.com/news/art... [sfgate.com]

victims should not be holding the bag when drivers like this have insurance that uses loop holes to get out of covering victims. Taxis and other "commercial transport license" drivers have insurance that covers them all the time.

Re:liability coverage is needed (1)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 2 months ago | (#47675467)

Like most things in real life, there is nuance to that case.

The companies DO provide insurance. $1M in coverage, but it is only in effect from the time the ride is accepted to the time the passengers exit. That situation was an edge case, an auto/pedestrian collision right at the border of that time, immediately before the passenger was in the car. They denied coverage because the event happened immediately before coverage took effect. Much like having an insurance policy that takes effect October 1st and having damage reported September 29th, the collision happened immediately prior to the policy becoming active. Tragic, but unfortunately it happens sometimes. Rather importantly, they have since extended the time of coverage so if it happened today it would be covered. So when another tragedy like that inevitably happens the full $1M insurance will be in effect.

Both Uber and Lyft have added additional insurance which is in effect any time the driver marks themselves online as 'available'. The insurance rules can be summed up pretty easily:

* Logged out / unavailable: Your own insurance covers you, nothing from company as you aren't on the clock.
* Available but between jobs: Company provides $50K in supplemental insurance, after your insurance pays as the primary.
* From "ride accepted" to "ride finished and passengers is away from vehicle": Company provides $1M as primary insurance, personal insurance is secondary.

I assume it is similar for all their locations, but it may be different in Germany where they were banned.

The California proposal is to increase the insurance coverage for the "Available but between jobs" segment from $50K to $750K, which would cost quite a lot more for the company and is dramatically more than what traditional taxis must have for collision and liability. I would only agree with the bill if it affected all transportation companies, not just the newcomers.

Re:liability coverage is needed (2, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 months ago | (#47675613)

victims should not be holding the bag when drivers like this have insurance that uses loop holes to get out of covering victims.

This is already a fact of life for everyone. If some driver runs into you and doesn't have the proper insurance, you could be on the hook financially.

The driver in that case (who should be in jail) ran over the girl not because he was an Uber driver, BUT just because he was a negligent driver on the road at the time.

Furthemore INSURANCE WOULD NOT HELP, even if he had it. The girl is dead, period, full stop. There is no insurance payout here. There is no amount of money you can pay to a family to bring their child back to life.

So, anyways, it makes perfect sense that Uber only needs to provide insurance, when the driver is actually operating the vehicle commercially ---- that is, driving to make a pickup, and then picking up and transporting the passenger, until the passengers are fully dropped off.

Taxi companies need to provide insurance all the time, because They own the vehicle, and the driver is their employee.. An employee operating a company owned vehicle FOR ANY COMPANY, exposes the company to liability for whatever happens while they are operating company property. Even if the trip is personal and not related to business.

It's quite different if the company doesn't own the vehicle, and it's usually not being driven for business purposes.

Re: Uber is quite retarded (2)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about 2 months ago | (#47675305)

I think you are wrong in this case, particularly as the case is in Germany. In the US getting into a cab is pretty horrific experience at the best of times, my experience has been several white knuckle drives where I have actually said to the driver I will tip him if he slows down, or taxis that simply aren't clean.

In Germany my experience has been taxis arriving on time, driven well and immaculately clean. Having legislated taxi services can mean that your drivers are vetted to a higher level (ie police checked & driver skills checked) than a decentralised system can ever be.

Re: Uber is quite retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675339)

In the US, if you get into an actual taxi cab, the service is almost always regulated with a commercially licensed driver. If you do not have a commercially licensed driver, you probably aren't in a cab. For example, in New York City, there are limo services that do much the same thing as cabs do but are not regulated the same way. I think that you are looking at the difference between how Germany and the US regulate, not a difference of whether they regulate.

It's my understanding that it is more difficult to get a personal driver's license in Germany. That may scale up to the commercial licenses.

Re: Uber is quite retarded (5, Informative)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#47675665)

Hahaha, you make it sound as if "being licensed" has some implication of advanced skill.

and maybe you don't know as much as you think you do:

The following are required by 1st time applicants for a Personenbeforderungsschein

Formal Application Antrag (obtained at the driver licensing office, usually the Road Traffic Office of the Community or Parish)

Personalausweis or passport (in combination with a valid personal registration)

Fuhrerschein (only the standard EU-Driving Licence is acceptable)

Medical Report from a Doctor specialised in ''Arbeitsmedizin'' or a Dr. with a qualification in ''Betriebsmedizin'' or a Report from a Reporting Institute for physical and mental driving competence. Info regarding which Drs. can do this is given by the Road Traffic Office. (The diagnostics relate to Stress, Reaction and Perception testing.)

Opticians Report or Certificate

Medical confirmation of Physical and Mental ability.

Fuhrungszeugnis (Criminal Record Report) with NO entries (for Official use only)

Extract from the Central Traffic Register Kraftfahrt-Bundesamtes in Flensburg

Ortskenntnisnachweis Proof of Knowledge (for the relevant district for Hire cars in Communities with population over 50.000).

Questions are to be answered regarding Places of Interest, Public Buildings, City districts. Generally routes will also be tested by giving starting and finishing points and allowing the candidate to describe the shortest route. Usually the Taxi company intending to employ the candidate will assist with the preparation for this test.

Knowledge test for taxi drivers in Germany. Is there one? Advice on working as a cabbie. [toytowngermany.com]
[Germany's English-speaking crowd. May 2010]

Re: Uber is quite retarded (0)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 months ago | (#47675133)

Uber et. al. have obviated the need for those a-priori licensing regimes and offer safer, better solutions to the same old coordination problems.

It means the end of the useful life of the cartels and their [often captured] regulators, so of course they fight it.

Here, have a listen:
http://www.cato.org/multimedia... [cato.org]

Re: Uber is quite retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675249)

If you can find a working link I'll be happy to mod your comment appropriately.

Re: Uber is quite retarded (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 months ago | (#47675263)

No, they haven't. If Uber was willing to themselves shoulder any liability, that would be one thing. But they claim that individual drivers are responsible for any liability that may arise in an accident, and that Uber is not responsible. Of course, conveniently enough, the average driver nowhere near enough assets to pay out any liability claim in the case where they caused an accident. That is precisely why insurance is required.

Re: Uber is quite retarded (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675409)

If the Government was not allowing asinine damages in claims I would probably be in agreement with your opinion, but we both know that is bullshit. Double jeopardy is common today, and justice is used to punish things that the Government does not like. If you happen to be on the "Government" side of an issue you can cash in for life. If you are on the other side of the debate, well.. your asshole is going to be stretched far and wide.

Re: Uber is quite retarded (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47675349)

How exactly should a Uber 'cap' be safer than an ordinary cap?

Re: Uber is quite retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675661)

Oh, you propaganda swallowing idiot. You really think it's the world wide cottage industry taxi driving which has captured regulators, and not the companies with billions in venture capital from Goldman Sachs and Silicon Valley?

Cato are paid to say shit like this, you hopefully aren't.

Re:Uber is quite retarded (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675209)

There is a law. German wide. Which says: to transport people commercially you need a "commercial transport license". Just like a pilot with a PPL may not commercially transport persons but needs a commercial transport license. Heck, even if you drive a mini bus with more than 7 passengers _privately_ you need a "personell transport license".

Uber doesn't consider itself a commercial transport service. It considers itself a ridesharing service. Presumably it could accept an upper limit of seven passengers.

I don't want to get into the merits of the law or applying it to Uber. I just wanted to point out that there is an argument that this law should not apply to them. It may or may not be a good argument.

I wonder how difficult it would be for them to comply with the law. I.e. how many people have commercial transport licenses? How hard would they be to get? Uber could require its drivers to have the license. They probably don't want to do so, as it would limit their driver supply.

Re:Uber is quite retarded (4, Insightful)

ZaphodHarkonnen (962799) | about 2 months ago | (#47675473)

They can consider themselves a sovereign state for all that means. Uber provides a commercial transport service even if they're simply contracting out the actual transport to someone else. So it should be up to them to make sure that the drivers they use meet the regulations of the country. Nothing here is saying that Uber cannot provide transport services. Just that they need to provide them under existing regulations. Now if they do not wish to do this they have two paths of recourse. Either not enter the market, or lobby for a law change.

Re:Uber is quite retarded (2)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about 2 months ago | (#47675687)

Uber doesn't consider itself a commercial transport service. It considers itself a ridesharing service. Presumably it could accept an upper limit of seven passengers.

I don't want to get into the merits of the law or applying it to Uber. I just wanted to point out that there is an argument that this law should not apply to them. It may or may not be a good argument.

Then they can bring their case to court and let the judges decide.
But until then they are bound by the decisions of the official body that regulates these matters.
This is about people's safety, so they have to follow the safety regulations until it is proven they don't have to.

Germany isn't the Wild West where companies can do as they please and consumer rights be damned.

Re:Uber is quite retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675225)

So the only way to have a "Free Market" is by having Government control? I really hope you realize how idiotic that thought process really is. And no, it has nothing to do with a company being held accountable for their actions, this is preemptive exclusion. Accountability is something else entirely.

Re:Uber is quite retarded (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 months ago | (#47675411)

No, this is precisely about accountability. It's not a new problem either: London invented this solution in response to this problem ~350 years ago. In the 17th century, there were many hackney carriages driven by unscrupulous drivers, who had no assets you could go after to pay for damages they caused through their rash behavior.

Here are two solutions:

1. Enforce a skill floor on drivers, so the worst cannot drive at all.

2. Require the rest of the drivers to carry insurance, so that any damages they cause to a third party may be assured coverage.

Re:Uber is quite retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675455)

so youre saying that some kind of driving test be administered, and subsequent success results in a driving license?
i dont think it will work, seems just as impossible as imposing compulsory insurance.

Re:Uber is quite retarded (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 months ago | (#47675539)

Plenty of people on the roads who only have licenses because the cops haven't caught them yet (driving dangerously, hooning, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving unsafe or un-roadworthy cars or otherwise doing things that put the lives of other road users at risk)

Re:Uber is quite retarded (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47675607)

I got pulled over for hooning in the fast lane of a fwy.

Re:Uber is quite retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675545)

Good grief, you are grasping at some straws really far away.

All Cars driving in the US today MUST be insured to be legal. All drivers in the US today must be licensed to drive. There is no exception being made by Uber or Lyft drivers, none, zero, zip, nill.

If a driver is legal, then why would it matter what property he owned? Because you really think that every case of injury from auto accident entitles someone to 7+ figures in damages?

Oh I know, you will bring up some fringe case to prove how devastating _every_single_ injury from a car accident is, and how _every_single_person deserves to be paid millions of dollars for mental anguish in addition to the medical bills and time off of work. Go ahead and play that game, but then you need to play it for EVERYONE starting with yourself! Don't complain when your car insurance rates go to 10K a month to cover those types of damages.

If you don't buy into the universality of the damages, then you are absolutely buying into the preemptive exclusion process.

Uber already pays for more damages than a normal insurance policy in every single State in the US. They already provide insurance to cover drivers that may not have enough insurance. You will probably once again grasp at the fringe case where Uber and the Driver disagreed on who's insurance should cover an accident. That case is primarily a dispute where the victim wanted more money, and the driver didn't want a premium increase. Nobody left the victim dying in the street with no help and no coverage of the medical bills.

In other words, both of your solutions are ALREADY IMPLEMENTED, at least in the US. I can't say how things are done in other countries, but I would assume that just like in the US the company follows the laws of that land.

Re:Uber is quite retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675625)

Actually, yes. Without goverment control the "free market" will stabilise into a natural monopoly. If you keep the goverment away long enough you are left with a single company doing everything.

Re:Uber is quite retarded (1)

noidentity (188756) | about 2 months ago | (#47675335)

Is it an anti-competition law? In many places they limit the number of licenses, which reduces competition and allows taxis to charge more.

Re:Uber is quite retarded (1)

ZaphodHarkonnen (962799) | about 2 months ago | (#47675483)

Sounds like it's more a safety and skill law. I haven't seen any reference to Berlin having a cap on licenses.

Re:Uber is quite retarded (1)

qpqp (1969898) | about 2 months ago | (#47675603)

to transport people commercially you need a "commercial transport license"

Unless you're just sharing the cost [mitfahrgelegenheit.de] .

Just Sayin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675091)

Affirmative action cow;

s'got real employment now.

You'll never get rich,

by being a bitch;

affirmative action cow. ... Cow! ... COW!

I ban Berlin (1)

Joe Johnson (3773821) | about 2 months ago | (#47675093)

It's just taxi lobbyists pushing back...Just like here... taxis suck compared to Uber.

It's the law. (5, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | about 2 months ago | (#47675283)

It's just taxi lobbyists pushing back...

It has nothing to do with lobbies, or taxis reacting to Uber.

It's simply the law, and this law is much older than Uber itself.
It has always been there and still needs to be applied, even after Uber appears.
(Some other countries like Switzerland have similair laws).

If you transport people professionally (no mater if you're some minister's chauffeur, a taxi driver, working as a bus driver in the public transportation service, or simply driving a minivan with more than 7 passengers) the law requires that you have a special driving license and insurance companies require that you subscribe a different type of insurance policy (insurance is mandatory in EU).
Uber is note immune to the law. People get money to carry people around with Uber, they must therefore follow the state law.

This is not taxi drivers protesting against Uber because it's competing with them, it's simply the city ruling that Uber needs to play by the same rule like everybody else.

Re:I ban Berlin (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47675369)

Dude, if you found a company here in my town and start advertising you are driving people around, the next thing that is happening is the the responsible offices visit you and check your company.
There is absolutely no lobby needed for that.

And by the way: the exact same thing happens if you open a restaurant, want to sell hot dogs at a street or want to over medical services, there are hundrets of other things, like selling alcohol, weapons or tabaco where you exactly know it is only a matter of days after going into business that the first 'control' is made.

And for your interest: this is more or less the same in every civilized country.

Ah Repression Lives In Berlin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675105)

The Berlin Government receives quite a heavy load in fees from Public "Pissers" where you have to pay to piss, and the fees climb steeply for other certain "functions".

Not doubt that Taxis are heavily regulated in the proper "German Way" and the Uber model is a direct threat to the existence of the Berlin Government. Hay, Berlin, buy some of Obama Drones to kill Uber cars in Berlin ! It would be just like the good old days ah ha. :-)

Uber alles? Nein! (5, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 2 months ago | (#47675117)

at least in Berlin...

Re:Uber alles? Nein! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675481)

No Uber in Germany?

That's just super...

Picking nits.. (2)

fred911 (83970) | about 2 months ago | (#47675129)

First off TFA is about as weak on details as it is in verb conjugation. And we just clip and paste without editing?

  What is proper insurance cover(age)? Are the limits too low, or not commercially based? Or not vetted properly?

  Quite honestly, I've never "Ubered" a substandard ride. I've had a few tardy ones I canceled, sans expense. Nothing compared to ANY taxi service. When I "Uber" a ride I get immaculately clean vehicles, professionally dressed drivers who own high end vehicles. Compared to a possible slacker, who's leased a 200k mile sled with vinyl seats and a plexiglas separator, talking on his bluetooth earpiece and bitching when I want to settle with a card and not cash.

  It would sure be nice to read an article with USEFUL UTILITY (not to mention an edited summary).

 

Re:Picking nits.. (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 months ago | (#47675285)

When I "Uber" a ride, I get a regular taxi. They call it "uberTAXI", and it's the only service available in the second largest city in Canada. A regular taxi shows up, and you get billed the regulated meter rate.

About the only advantage is that Uber's app is probably more reliable/better than the very similar apps used by existing taxi companies in Montreal. I've had Diamond Taxi's app crap out on me after ordering a few times, and the GPS on the taxi only updates infrequently.

Competiton, good for everyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675131)

Only if the field is fair. Uber and Lyft have problems with their own behavior. Is it wrong for the people of a sovereign state to have rules?

Competiton, good for everyone? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675165)

Like the Nuremberg Laws?

Re: Competiton, good for everyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675203)

Can you not tell the difference between laws? Or are they all equivalent?

If you can show me the correlation between the two, do so. Otherwise leave your strawman behind.

Re:Competiton, good for everyone? (2, Insightful)

fred911 (83970) | about 2 months ago | (#47675169)

". Is it wrong for the people of a sovereign state to have rules?"
  No, it's just wrong for a public utility to use legislation to eliminate competition (thereby lowering the quality of service) instead of raising their level and competing on the same field of play.

Re: Competiton, good for everyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675245)

OK, so you do accept that there can be regulations, but you want to avoid regulatory capture. What suggestions do you have for that?

Re:Competiton, good for everyone? (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47675435)

Actually the quallity of service is not lowerd.
How should that be? Your idea is retarded, lol.

If Uber wants to compete 'on the same field of play': they should raise their standard!

It is not a public utility that is making those laws ... the laws are made by the parliament ... the law is over 100 years old ... and it is not a 'Berlin thing' similar laws we have all over europe. I doubt you can drive in any european country (regardless if EU or not) a cab without having the proper license ... well perhaps in Turkey, if you call that europe, or probably in Bulgaria.

Re:Competiton, good for everyone? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47675213)

what does this even mean?

Re: Competiton, good for everyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675357)

It's not a long diatribe, what are you having a problem understanding?

Germans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675161)

What can you do with'em?

What are they complaining about? (5, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | about 2 months ago | (#47675177)

I don't know why Uber is complaining. All they need to do, after all, is to recruit drivers with a commercial license; require the vehicles to comply to commercial safety standards; and provide the needed insurance. It's not as if the deck is stacked against them - the other services they compete against all follow the same rules.

For my part as a potential user, liability is the real issue. I would never risk taking a car service where I'm not fully covered in the case of an accident. It's not just medical and other costs for myself; if the driver is not licensed you, as the one paying for the ride, may be regarded as co-responsible if your driver caused the accident in the first place. You want to risk hundreds of thousands of Euro in damages to save a few bucks on a taxi ride?

Re:What are they complaining about? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675191)

That will cut into Uber's all important profit margin.

Re:What are they complaining about? (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 months ago | (#47675359)

I don't know why Uber is complaining. All they need to do, after all, is to recruit drivers with a commercial license;

In Germany, if they carry less than 8 passengers and if their vehicles are below a certain weight, then they don't need to take a different driving test [tuev-sued.de] .

What they do need however is a license to operate a taxi, and that's determined locally, with a criminal background/medical/eyes check, and a very stringent but outdated local geography test that has been rendered completely useless by mobile applications such as Google Maps Navigation and Waze.

For my part as a potential user, liability is the real issue. I would never risk taking a car service where I'm not fully covered in the case of an accident.

In the US, Uber covers you for up to one million dollars. [uber.com] For other countries, just check the relevant Uber web site for the country you're in, and see how much insurance they have. My bet is that you'll probably have better coverage when you travel as a passenger/driver with Uber than if you were to drive yourself personally.

Re:What are they complaining about? (5, Informative)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47675413)

In Germany, if they carry less than 8 passengers and if their vehicles are below a certain weight, then they don't need to take a different driving test.
That is incorrect. This is only valid if you don't commercially transport passengers.
If you actually do transport passengers comercially, you need an extra driving license, and you need the same extra license if you transport more than 7 or 8 people _non_ commercially (in one vehicle) like e.g. if you bring boy scouts into a camp. Every bus driver bringing kids to school has such a license!

outdated local geography test that has been rendered completely useless by mobile applications such as Google Maps Navigation and Waze.
Well, I usualy have trips that are not longer than 15 minutes, and I appreciate it if the driver does not need 2 mins to set up the navigation first, especially if the spelling of the target is odd.

In the US, Uber covers you for up to one million dollars.
Erm, do you actually own a car? I guess not.
My private, standard, insurance for my private car, with no intent to be used commercially is insured up to 10 million Euro (damage to persons). That is a very normal rate, I doubt you can even get a lower one.

My bet is that you'll probably have better coverage when you travel as a passenger/driver with Uber than if you were to drive yourself personally
Certainly not. Damage to yourself is not covered by your car insurance. That is covered by your health and/or accident insurance or 'out of job insurance' in case you can no longer work.

Re:What are they complaining about? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 months ago | (#47675593)

In Germany, if they carry less than 8 passengers and if their vehicles are below a certain weight, then they don't need to take a different driving test.
That is incorrect. This is only valid if you don't commercially transport passengers.
If you actually do transport passengers comercially, you need an extra driving license, and you need the same extra license if you transport more than 7 or 8 people _non_ commercially (in one vehicle) like e.g. if you bring boy scouts into a camp. Every bus driver bringing kids to school has such a license!

I mentioned the term "driving test", not driver license. Also, I provided a source. You didn't. And I did mention that you needed a taxi license in my following paragraph.

outdated local geography test that has been rendered completely useless by mobile applications such as Google Maps Navigation and Waze.
Well, I usualy have trips that are not longer than 15 minutes, and I appreciate it if the driver does not need 2 mins to set up the navigation first, especially if the spelling of the target is odd.

Then you should use Uber then, because you confirm the address on your own mobile phone, everything after that is fully automated, and the Uber driver doesn't have to set up anything.

In the US, Uber covers you for up to one million dollars.
Erm, do you actually own a car? I guess not.

I do, but only in California. The minimum mandatory coverage in California is actually crazy small.
$15,000 for injury/death to one person
$30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
$5,000 for damage to property

Not only that, but unlike most European countries where the system of stickers makes driving without insurance almost impossible. In the US, it's actually quite easy to do so.

Re:What are they complaining about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675461)

My bet is that you'll probably have better coverage when you travel as a passenger/driver with Uber than if you were to drive yourself personally.

Thats not nearly true. In Germany you are covered by 7.5 million Euro at least (it's the law), but the normal insurrance covers even 50 to 100 million. Thats 15 to 30 times Uber gives you... And when you are Uberpop-Driver in case of an accident, the insurrance company could deny you the payments when you didnt sign an insurrance contract for commercial driving, which is much more expensive.

Re:What are they complaining about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675599)

Again, I gave a figure for Uber in the US.

In the US, that amount of insurance is considered high.

Re:What are they complaining about? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 months ago | (#47675641)

Thats 15 to 30 times Uber gives you...

...gives you in the US.

Like I said in my other post, the existing insurance system in the US, and especially in California, is actually very pathetic.

Re:What are they complaining about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675677)

Thats 15 to 30 times Uber gives you...

...gives you in the US.

No, in Germany/Europe it is 3.7 Million Euro Uber gives you. I meant that. And as I said, thats the only liable insurrance there is, unlike in a taxi.

Re:What are they complaining about? (1)

JanneM (7445) | about 2 months ago | (#47675527)

What they do need however is a license to operate a taxi, and that's determined locally, with a criminal background/medical/eyes check, and a very stringent but outdated local geography test that has been rendered completely useless by mobile applications such as Google Maps Navigation and Waze.

So require that the drivers have it, outdated or not. It's required by all commercial passenger traffic so it's not as f it discriminates against Uber after all. If they really don't like it, they're free to lobby and argue for a change to the relevant laws. Just arguing that "but we don't wanna follow the law!" gets tired really fast.

In the US, Uber covers you for up to one million dollars.

That's a pretty pathetic sum for traffic insurance. Remember, you may potentially be economically liable for several injured, permanently disabled or killed people, property damage and other costs. And again, as the one that commissions and pays for the trip, you just might find yourself shouldering part of the criminal liability too, if you didn't check that the guy you hired had a valid license for commercial traffic.

Re:What are they complaining about? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 months ago | (#47675655)

It's required by all commercial passenger traffic so it's not as f it discriminates against Uber after all.

No, the specific geography test I mentioned is only for taxi licensing, not for any other kind of commercial passenger traffic.

That's a pretty pathetic sum for traffic insurance.

You got me there.

The US, California especially, is actually pretty pathetic where it comes to car insurance coverage. In Germany, I would expect Uber's insurance to be much higher.

Show me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675557)

Show me one documented instance of Uber's insurance company paying out adequately to an injured passenger.

Re:What are they complaining about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675549)

Not many other countries intentionally bankrupt accident victims the way the US does. Making you pay for your trauma care as if you'd voluntarily purchased three million hamburgers is not how the rest of the developed world operates. You live in the fourth world: profit above all else, and plebes can eat shit.

new != better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675193)

" market that hasn't changed in years."

That doesn't mean that it needs to change. This line of thinking results in average services. Every time you get a good service, it eventually gets replaced with a mediocre service that is newer, resulting in average service overall.

We see this all the time in the IT industry. A perfectly serviceable solution that meets the business needs gets replaced by the new flavour of the day. But missing half the capabilities of the old solution that are actually required for the business needs. Eventually the new service gets all the needed functionality grafted on in increasingly hacky ways until the next thing comes along. From my experience this lifecycle period seems to be shortening in length, so the solutions get more hacky and the quality decreases over time.

Out to Change The Industry and Way of Business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675199)

At the core, startups have one of two business models: They either work within the existing business framework in their industry, or they try to change the way business is done. Uber and Lyft are among the latter, in that they are drastically changing how the money flows and how the laws protect certain players. Not only do they have to develop new technology and sell it to consumers, they have to fight both the competition and government that are together unified against them. This is a very hard approach.

Actually (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675235)

Uber was banned because it was missing the umlaut.

Seems strange... (0)

johnslater (61055) | about 2 months ago | (#47675293)

...given that there used to be a song about "Deutschland" and "Uber"...

On Yer Bike (4, Interesting)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 2 months ago | (#47675315)

Just get a bike. Berlin is brilliant for cycling. And if you need to transport something big, just call up any of the many taxi-like services that will take it home in a van for you.

They can't stop it. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 months ago | (#47675453)

They can stop pay services but they can't stop free services. lets say you just list that you're taking a ride from point X to point Y and would be willing to pick up anyone along the way.

How can that be illegal. Now do you want to pick up a total stranger? Maybe not. But then maybe the culture will change where you'll be okay with that.

Re:They can't stop it. (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47675465)

For that we already have private lift/ride sharing where the 'passengers' pay a part of the fuel bill.
Obviously that is more interesting for long distances, as soon as you over sucha lift more than once a day inside of the same town, or on the sa,e route back amd forth (and get more money than the fuel costs) every controlling agency would argue you do that commercially.

Why not the City itself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675463)

I do agree that many commercial taxi services are inefficient and could do with more competition. What I don't agree with is that this competition has to come from *Uber*. Technology-wise, I'm sure at least half of the people here could whip up a comparable "rider-and-car-scheduling" system, both the back end and front end (Android or IOS app, Blackberry and WinPhone if you're a masochist) in a week, tops (I'm not saying it'll be *pretty*, I'm saying it'll work). So honestly there's no reason why each and every city cannot run it's own car/ride-sharing system, for example. The only difference between a system like that and Uber is that Uber's founder won't get rich. All the "additional functions" that Uber provides (insurance) only happened reactively (after Uber vehicles killed people/drivers raped passengers).

Why hasn't this happened?

The analogy I would draw is between Google Maps/Nokia Here vs. OpenStreetMaps, for example. If a city can licence taxis, it may as well extend the taxi licensing scheme to include some sort of ride-sharing setup. Why not?

RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675475)

Your car is licensed to be driven for your transportation, just like the movie is licensed to be viewed by you. If you want to run a transport distribution service, get a license, like a theatre.

Raise the bar? (1)

matbury (3458347) | about 2 months ago | (#47675533)

What bar are Uber raising? All I can see is a race to the bottom. If I get into a taxi, I want to know that it's insured, up to a reasonable minimum standard of safety and security, that the driver is fully informed of his/her legal obligations, and that if something happens that's suspect, illegal, or just plain wrong, I have official channels to go through that can deal with the issue quickly and effectively. That means every taxi and every driver has to be identifiable and reachable. How else do you ensure that without licensing?

If you get into a taxi in London, you can be sure that the driver can get you to your destination in the shortest possible time any time of day and any day of the week: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

Now... Gleich (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675617)

Now it's over (über) for them...

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