On Wednesday, the Brussels Court of Appeal ruled that drivers can no longer work with the Uber app as it stated that an earlier order against Uber – from 2015 – is still valid, the taxi platform announced.
In practice, this means that the roughly 2,000 Uber drivers will no longer be able to use the app from 6:00 PM on Friday 26 November, making the app virtually unusable in the Belgian capital city, reports De Standaard.
As a result, those drivers “lose the opportunity to generate income,” the company stated in a press release on Wednesday.
The American taxi platform came to Brussels in 2014 with UberPop, where individuals could sign up to transport people for a fee. However, a court ruled in 2015 that the service was not legal and issued an order to cease its activities against UberPop.
Uber then reformed its services in Brussels and has since only worked with drivers who have an FVO/LVC profession licence, which is the same licence as limousine drivers: hiring drivers operating private vehicles.
Since 2015, Uber has been able to continue growing in Brussels, but the Brussels Court of Appeal now ruled that the order against UberPop to cease its activities also applies to Uber’s current services.
“This ruling is based on outdated regulations that predate the advent of smartphones and which the government has been promising to reform for seven years,” said Laurent Slits, manager of Uber in Belgium in a press release.
“We are very concerned because 2,000 Brussels-based Uber drivers will lose the ability to generate income from Friday,” he added. “We urge the Brussels government to quickly reform the sector so that drivers can continue to work and provide for their families.”
At the end of September, the Brussels-Capital Region revealed the long-awaited ‘Taxi Plan’ by Minister-President Rudi Vervoort, which states that the statutes for Uber and traditional taxi drivers will be equalised and that there will be minimum rates.
Uber is looking into the possibility to appeal the case, according to Het Nieuwsblad.