Uber out of service in Bratislava, for now

Transport Ministry is working on new rules for operation of taxis in Slovakia

(Source: AP/SITA)

While a Bratislava court ruling has stopped the US alternative taxi service Uber from operating in Bratislava, it has not offered any solution for this segment of the sharing economy in Slovakia. It remains unaddressed by local legislation and locked in the gap between new technologies and old regulations.

The Transport Ministry has been working on changes to the over-regulated taxi services in Slovakia for a while, but for now it has specified neither the changes nor the term when they become effective.

Uber suspends its services in Slovakia

US alternative taxi service Uber suspended its operation in Bratislava in the evening of March 27, in response to the ruling of the district Bratislava Court I responding to a lawsuit filed by traditional taxi drivers. The court ordered Uber to suspend the provision of taxi service via persons or mediate it to persons not meeting the requirements imposed on taxi drivers.

“Even though we have not received the verdict of the court yet, we have registered it. We are temporarily suspending our operations in Bratislava until the situation is cleared,” wrote Miroslava Jozová, spokesperson of Uber in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, in response to the latest development.

The Bratislava-based Civic Association of Certified Taxi Drivers (OZKT) filed the lawsuit in January, arguing that Uber drivers do not meet the requirements for professional taxi drivers and their cars do not meet the safety and regulatory requirements for professional transport services.

The lawsuit by the traditional taxi drivers arrived on the heels of a ruling by the European Union’s top court in December, stating that Uber should be classified as a transport service and regulated like other taxi operators, and not as a tech company acting as an intermediary between drivers and customers looking for a ride. This means they should fall under lighter EU rules for online services.

Taxi drivers welcomed the ruling by the Bratislava court.

“We find this verdict to be the logical outcome of our several months-long fight for business equality in the field of taxi services,” said OZKT representatives as cited by the TASR newswire. “The court fully identified itself with our claims, thus confirming the fact that Uber was mediating taxi services through drivers and vehicles at odds with Slovak legislation and harm the business environment.”

Read also:Dissatisfied taxi drivers hit Bratislava streets, again Read more 

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