National Monitor Cities putting the brakes on Uber by Manolito J Martinez

National Monitor
National Monitor
Cities putting the brakes on Uber
Manolito J Martinez
12/10/2014

The popular ride sharing tech company Uber, which has been one of the fastest growing start ups in recent history, has been under scrutiny all over the globe in recent weeks. The company is facing possible bans in Spain, Thailand, New Delhi and in major cities around the U.S.

The city of Los Angeles and San Francisco have filed lawsuits against Uber calling the background checks of their drivers “Worthless.” Nevada has banned Uber statewide calling them an unregulated taxi service.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon slammed the current background check procedure that Uber uses. Instead of fingerprinting their drivers to verify their identity and potential criminal history, the drivers simply enter their license information online. Gascon also called their business practices “unfair.”

In Portland, Ore. Uber started operating Friday despite objections by Mayor Charlie Hale and the Commissioner of City Transportation. Uber has been operating outside of the city limits without regulation. The City of Portland announced Monday that it had filed a lawsuit against Uber for operating illegally. The city is asking a judge for an injunction forcing the company to cease operations.

According to the city’s Transportation Bureau spokesman Dylan Rivera, Portland officials are operating stings and citing drivers who offer rides. The issue with Uber operating in Portland is largely about regulation, ensuring vehicles are properly equipped for handicapped persons and that fare caps are in place.

Uber has come under fire in cities across the U.S. for not operating within regulations. Ride sharing companies do not have to operate around the clock and do not have to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

In an effort to compete with Uber and other ride sharing companies such as Lyft, a New York City council member recently has introduced legislation for New York cab companies to have access to a app of their own. Council Member Ben Kallos said in a statement, “New York City must support our tech sector: Instead of making new technologies illegal, or regulating them out of business, we should provide a level playing field with fair competition so that companies, drivers and riders all win.”

In New Delhi, India, a Uber driver has been accused of assaulting a female passenger. The news of the alleged rape caused officials in New Delhi to implement a ban on web based ride sharing services such as Uber.

On Tuesday a Judge in Spain issued a ban on the Uber service. The decision came after a complaint was filed by the Madrid Taxi Association. The judge cited that Uber drivers did not have authorization to operate.

Bangkok officials ordered Uber to shut down due to lack of insurance by its drivers. Dutch authorities have ordered the UberPop service be shut down and threatened to levy fines. Earlier this year a German court barred UberPop from operating in Germany which is the largest European market for Taxi service.

According to reports, Uber has recently raised over a billion dollars in an attempt to expand its international service. This move, however, has been more difficult than anticipated due to the different regulations in different countries. Uber does appear to be expanding aggressively, asking more for forgiveness than for permission from the international community.

Uber is a San Francisco based company which has grown into a $40 billion dollar corporation since its launch in 2009. It utilizes a smart phone app and the Internet to connect drivers with customers.

Issue: 
Technology
Transportation