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    Uber banned by Brussels judge

    © Mark Warner/Flisckr
    © Mark Warner/Flisckr

    Car-hire service Uber has been banned by a court in Brussels. The service was declared illegal by the Dutch-speaking tribunal of commerce in the capital.

    The ruling applies in general, regardless of language considerations.

    The court ruled that the law permitted only taxi services to operate whose drivers were in possession of a taxi licence, conforming a ruling delivered in December against the service Uberpop.

    The company’s arguments that Uber is not a taxi service, but instead a sort of car-sharing service, were rejected by the court.

    The initial complaint had been brought by the Brussels taxi association, which argued that Uber was in unfair competition with its members, who are required to meet requirements on dress, presentation and conduct.

    Uber, on the other hand, demands no such requirements, even though many of its drivers are off-duty taxi drivers working off the clock.

    Uber had argued it was not legally a taxi service, but instead a car-sharing service – an argument it has used in other jurisdictions in other countries with varying degrees of success. The argument, according to the company, states that the company is not offering a taxi service, but rather the sharing of a vehicle by the owner of a private vehicle.

    The commercial court has now rejected that argument, conforming a decision delivered in December in 2019.

    The office of Brussels mobility minister Pascal Smet has declined to comment on the ruling, while it is being studied.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times