The ride-hailing company Uber is no stranger to controversy and regulatory issues. The latest of these roadblocks now comes from Italy, as the European country decided on April 7 to ban Uber's service nationwide. The ban came as a Rome judge ruled in favor of major Italian taxi associations, a report by Reuters noted. The court cited Uber as unfair competition for taxis in Italy.
"We’re shocked,” Uber's lawyers said in a statement, which Italian daily Corriere della Sera obtained. “We will appeal this ruling that is based on a 25-year-old law. Now the government can’t waste more time and needs to decide whether it wants to remain anchored to the past, protecting privileged profits, or whether it wants to allow Italians to benefit from new technologies.”
The ban extends across all the ride-hailing services Uber offers — Black, Lux, Suv, X , XL, Select, and Van — and also prohibits the company from advertising in Italy. Uber has 10 days to appeal the decision or to cease operations in the country in order to avoid paying up to $10,600 worth of fines for every day it continues to operate.
Meanwhile, the lawyers of the major taxi associations hail this as a victory. “It is the fourth decision of an Italian judge who establishes unfair competition from Uber," they told Corriere della Sera. "The last battle of a legal battle started in 2015 to block the most striking form of unfair competition ever recorded on the Italian transport market."