updated 01:59 pm EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
Judge allows rideshare company to return to business, ban lasted only four days
Uber fans in Berlin can rejoice for the time being, as the company has been given the go-ahead to resume its UberPop and UberBlack services today for the time being. A judge from the Berlin Administrative Court suspended the municiple ban, allowing the ride-sharing service to return to business. There is no time frame on how long the suspension will last.
"This is good news for the great people of Berlin, and the thousands of German citizens already benefitting from Uber's great services. We're delighted to continue to bring our fresh and new ride-sharing service UberPop, plus our licensed limo service UberBlack, to Berlin and other cities in Germany as we challenge the old policies that were written before the smartphone was even invented," said General Manager for Germany Fabien Nestmann. "Uber's number one priority is safety, and we would like to underline that every driver on the Uber platform is insured."
The suspension of the ban comes on the heels of a reprieve granted in the city of Hamburg at the tail end of last month after traffic authorities banned the service. A judge for the Hamburg Administrative Court "preliminarily suspended" the ban until further notice. At the time, the court said that Uber could "continue its business in Hamburg and elsewhere in Germany." Uber is still running in Hamburg while the case is reviewed.
A Berlin judge followed suit, suspending the ban in Berlin that was issued last Thursday. Berlin Senate officials said that Uber wasn't doing enough to protect passengers and violated the Passenger Transport Act. It's claimed that Uber drivers aren't chauffeurs, but closer to cab drivers, which means they require two types of licenses for operation. Each violation could lead to a $33,300 (€25,000) fine for the company and a $26,700 (€20,000) fine for drivers.
The court didn't completely overturn the ban, but is allowing the company to operate as it looks into the legality of the case. It's possible that the court could side with the Berlin Senate and halt Uber's operation once more.