Defiant Uber launches UberPOP in Utrecht
US-based taxi application Uber is now making their services available in Utrecht despite a ban put in place against one of the company's schemes in the Netherlands. The company does not only offer the regular UberBLACK service but the forbidden UberPOP as well, Uber stated on Tuesday. The application is now available in the four largest cities in the Randstad area.
Earlier, services like UberBLACK and UberX allowed only qualified drivers to pick up passengers through the application, but with UberPOP the company goes even further than that. UberPOP allows any driver, qualified or not, to act as a taxi service and get paid through the application, which courts have determined to be against Dutch law.
UberPOP was banned by the courts late last year in the Netherlands. The court agreed with the Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) proposal that facilitating journeys by private drivers via Uber is a form of illegal taxi service. Despite the ban, the company continued to offer cheap transport services and announced a hundred euro starting bonus to new individuals offering car rides via the application.
Four UberPOP drivers were caught in Amsterdam and one in Rotterdam in a joint operation by the police, public prosecutor and ILT last weekend. The five were each fined ten thousand euro for participating in the service.
The Californian start up company, valued at 40 billion dollars, is trying to break traditional taxi markets by more efficiently matching demand with supply, bringing the two together through one application. Regular taxi services, particularly in the Netherlands, are strongly against the company.