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Uber taxi app banned in Berlin on safety grounds

San Francisco start-up has struggled to gain acceptance in other cities

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Mobile taxi app Uber has been banned in Berlin by the city's State Department of Civil and Regulatory Affairs.

The authority issued a statement revealing it had banned the app, set up in Berlin last February, on passenger safety grounds and threatened the firm with a 25,000 euro (£20,000) fine for ignoring the order.

The Berlin ruling states: "Uber is from now on no longer allowed to use a smartphone app or similar application, or offer services via this app which are in breach of the Public Transport Act."

Uber, which plans to challenge the ban, has already been banned in the German city of Hamburg and it has come up against strong opposition in a number of other European cities, including London and Paris.

Fabien Nestmann, general manager at Uber in Germany, said: "The decision from the Berlin authorities is not progressive and it's seeking to limit consumer choice for all the wrong reasons. As a new entrant we're bringing much-needed competition to a market that hasn't changed in years."

The Association of Berlin Taxi Drivers welcomed the ruling in a statement on its website

"As taxi drivers, we have to meet a series of rules and commitments," said its chairman, Richard Leipold. "With its decision the senate has clarified that these apply to every player on the market, even digital competitors."



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