Uber makes peace with German taxi drivers

Guy Bentley
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UberTaxi launched in Berlin (Source: Getty)

Uber has launched its UberTaxi service in Berlin and Hamburg after a series of struggles with German courts.

UberTaxi, which operates in London and New York, allows users to hail a licensed cab. Furthermore, Uber will be changing its UberBlack service to comply with Berlin regulations.

The prices are, usually, lower than those of traditional cabs and give taxi drivers additional business when they would otherwise have been on standby.

The San Francisco-based company has been at constant loggerheads with regulators and the German taxi industry, with courts in Berlin and Hamburg upholding bans on the UberBlack and UberPop on Friday.

Uber's Germany spokesman Fabian Nestmann, commented:

Uber is committed to increasing the choice for consumers and drivers and helping them make personal mobility more efficient. Opening our platform for taxis in Germany with UberTaxi, our on demand service, is another step towards that goal

Uber's decision to adjust its service to meet Berlin's regulatory requirements comes shortly after the company's vice president for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Africa Niall Wass softened the firm's tone on regulation.

Wass indicated Uber was ready for a more open dialogue with lawmakers:

We're open for that debate, if they come to us and say we like what you're doing, but here are our concerns for a particular market.

Yesterday, Nestmann echoed Wass's remarks:

As a matter of course we respect the German legal system and work to adapt our services to comply with the regulatory framework.

We remain convinced, however, that there should be an open dialogue on how the current provisions of the German Transportation Act and how it can be adapted to embrace the technical possibilities of the 21st century.

Uber has not given up the fight in Berlin and is appealing the Berlin court ruling. Last week, UberPop launched in Madrid much to the chagrin of Spanish taxi industry.

The ride-sharing company will certainly be hoping to have a smoother ride expanding in Spain than it has had in Germany.

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