No longer are mere cities banning Uber (hi Austin!), now the entire country of Italy has banned the ride-sharing app following a court ruling that it constituted unfair competition to the country’s existing taxi associations.
Uber welcomed itself to Rome in 2013. Oh well. Photo Credit: Uber
The basic point of the case is that Italy’s existing major taxi associations filed a suit saying that Uber constituted unfair competition and a Rome court ruled in their favour, as Reuters matter-of-factly reports. Uber now can’t use its Black, Lux, Suv, X, XL, Select and Van services, nor can it even advertise in Italy.
The ruling was issued on Friday and the judge gave Uber 10 days to comply, facing a 10,000 Euro fine per day following, as reported by La Repubblica.
The ruling is based off of a law put into action back in 1992 governing how and where taxi companies can make their bookings, as La Repubblica reports. I’m a long way from being an expert on European law, but you can read at least parts of the text of the law from this 2014 case and this 2015 English summation. The taxi associations of Milan successfully used this same 1992 law to hit back at Uber in 2015, as Lexology writes.
Uber, of course, is determined to fight the case, arguing that it’s wrong to be weighed down by a 1992 law with no conception of mobile apps. Uber offered the following statement to the Italian press, as translated by The Verge: “We will appeal this ruling that is based on a 25-year-old law. Now the government can’t waste more time and needs to decide whether it wants to remain anchored to the past, protecting privileged profits, or whether it wants to allow Italian to benefit from new technologies.”
Uber also stated that it was “shocked” by the ruling.