Uber threat to Vienna taxi profits

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 3 Sep, 2014 Updated Wed 3 Sep 2014 10:08 CEST
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Outlawed in Germany, the smartphone app that seeks to replace taxis with private drivers has seen a surge in demand in Austria's capital city.

A court in Frankfurt this week imposed a temporary nationwide ban on the Internet-based taxi service, claiming that the San Francisco-based company was engaging in unfair competition with German taxi drivers.

Despite the ban in Austria's neighbour, Uber in Austria says that demand is high. Their General Manager John Wesemann said that "the demand for our service in Vienna is great."

"Currently Uber provides Uber Black and Uber X services in Vienna.  With both services Uber cooperates exclusively with fully-licensed car rental companies in Vienna, who have been working in their business for many years. They meet all the requirements required by law, which includes of course insurance protection for drivers and passengers."

"We want to offer our technology to other partners, such as existing taxi drivers, to give them the opportunity to increase their utilization and their earnings. Finally, we want to offer especially all Viennese another option to get around their city."

Uber was responding to criticism on Tuesday from Gökhan Keskin, deputy chairman of the department for transport in the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the taxi and car rental section in the Social Democratic trade association of Vienna.

"How can it be that a company that has no taxi or rental car authorization, but only a so-called travel agency authorization, is allowed to operate under these conditions?" said Keskin.
 
He demands a rapid intervention from the Chamber of Commerce.  "We cannot allow that Vienna taxi operators are steamrolled," said Keskin, citing the recent court decision in Germany.
 
On average Uber is around 25 percent cheaper than comparable transport services in Vienna.

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The Local 2014/09/03 10:08

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