26. April 2013–
Troubled on-demand private driver service Uber is facing more regulatory challenges from authorities in its only Scandinavian base, Stockholm.
Uber drivers are being denied permits to drive their cars and are also being stopped and fined by police while on the road. The reason? Stockholm transportation agency say only companies who drive members of the royal family or business executives are allowed to have a car service without a meter. Uber, on the other hand, claims the agency wants to protect the powerful taxi companies in the city.
Now Uber says if regulations aren’t lifted they will stop their services in Stockholm. The company isn't going down without a fight though, launching a petition to stop the intervention, which already almost has the 2500 signatures they’re after.
Is there still hope for Uber Stockholm?
According to Robin Reznik, General Manager of Uber Stockholm, out of the 30 countries Uber is available in, Stockholm is the fastest growing market. Uber has also expanded to selected US and Canadian cities, along with Paris, London, Sydney and Amsterdam.
When asked how they plan on moving past the problems, Reznik told us:
"We don't plan on getting around regulations as we think we can fit within them, as we know others have. In addition, we believe the regulations should be revised, renewed to match tech development and, finally, democratised. Everyone should be able to get a private chauffeur experience – not just members of the Royal family or Business CEOs."
The company's signature black car and private driver usually costs 15 to 20 per cent more than a normal cab. Uber users can check where the nearest cars are located and summon one via an app, as well as track how long it will take for the car to arrive. They then automatically pay for the ride with a pre-registered credit card.
Tweeting about the issues, it's clear Uber founder Travis Kalanick is very unimpressed with the Stockholm regulators:
This is yet another setback for the service, which was forced to shut down Uber Taxi in New York last October, though a year-long trial of taxi hailing apps has since been approved. In Washington DC the company faced a legal and political battle to gain approval for the service.
Image credit: Flickr user Silicon Prairie News
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