Uber is an extremely popular ride-sharing service that has revolutionized the way people get around from place to place. In terms of rivalry, its biggest competitor is a similar service called Lyft. But Uber has also caused plenty of problems for other transportation services like taxi drivers.
Because Uber isn't regulated in the same way as taxi businesses, there have been frequent legal battles about the usage of Uber in certain countries. Often the case for banning comes down to the fact that Uber operates under an unfair advantage due to the lack of adhering to the same laws and regulations as other car services. Here are ten countries where Uber isn't available or is extremely limited in use.
Denmark is known as a quaint country in Scandanavia. It's home to Hans Christian Anderson and the original Little Mermaid story. But if you ever plan on visiting Denmark, just know you'll be out of luck when it comes to traveling if you're used to taking Ubers. The ride-sharing service was banned in 2017 following the introduction of new taxi legislation.
Uber has been involved in terse legal battles around the world due to the way it creates unfair competition for other ride-share and taxi services. In Denmark, it was ruled that all taxis needed a visible fare and seat regulations, two things Uber cannot enforce with people using their personal vehicles.
Hungary is a beautiful country located in Central Europe. Its capital, Budapest, is a popular tourist spot and has been featured in many films as both a filming location and backdrop for the story setting. Sadly, you can no longer use Uber if you're hoping to get a quick ride to Budapest, or elsewhere in the country.
In 2016, Prime Minister Viktor Orban decided to ban internet access to what was considered illegal dispatch services. This information comes from Reuters, who initially reported this new legislation at the time it was announced. At the time, Uber claimed its services were used by more than 160,000 people in Budapest alone. The company claimed it was a temporary suspension but as of yet, the ban has yet to be lifted.
In the Southeast Asian country of Thailand, Uber was banned way back in 2014 for supposedly illegal practices. In accordance with the Motor Vehicle Act B.E.2522, it was reported by the Department of Land Transport that Uber wasn't acting within the confines of transportation law due to its rates falling outside of the regulations.
It's not all that surprising given a survey conducted by GoEuro established Ubers in Bangkok as having the fifth-lowest rates in the world. In 2017, a crackdown began to ensure Uber drivers were caught. Despite the service being banned in 2014, little was done to regular their usage until a couple of years ago.
Unlike some of the other countries on this list, the Uber ban in Canada is not a total ban. In some cities, Uber operates as normal. While technically legal in Quebec, Uber still struggles to operate due to strict regulations that were mandated by their government.
They issued a statement stating Uber drivers needed to have background checks and a specific amount of hours in training before they could operate. In Edmonton, Uber fought a difficult legal battle, but then suspended services due to being unable to get insurance for its drivers. These days, it's best to check on a case-by-case basis depending on where you are in Canada to see if Uber is running.
Back in 2014, Uber was outlawed in several of the major German cities. If one was caught operating with Uber they could be charged with a $25,000 fine. Then in 2015, a nationwide ban was passed in Frankfurt. With this ban, anyone caught operating an Uber would be charged $250,000.
The presiding judge at the time stated: “There is a violation of the passenger transport law because drivers operate without authorization." Many of the issues with Uber's operation in Germany deal with a lack of authorization or regulation on Uber vehicles. This ban primarily affected the uberPOP service and not the UberX or UberBLACK but did force driver's to carry transport passenger licenses, according to Reuters.
As has become a common trend with Uber's operations in cities around the world. They faced numerous legal battles to operate in Romania. The main issue is, of course, their drivers are unregulate and they cause fierce competition for local taxi services. Last year, Uber was effectively banned during a specialized court in Cluj-Napoca.
Their issue is that because Uber drivers do not have to obtain legal permits, they offer unfair competition to other transportation agencies. Just this past month, Uber was finally legalized in Romania but it will be under strict regulations for both vehicles and drivers. Even though this law was passed, it will still take up to six months or more before it goes into effect, for the time being, Uber usage in the country is still tempestuous at best.
Bulgaria is a picturesque country in the Balkans known for its rich cultural background including dance, art, and music. The city is a mecca for tourists who come from all over the world to indulge in the atmosphere but unfortunately, you'll have a difficult time getting an Uber here as the service was banned in 2015.
Again, continuing the trend from other countries, the biggest issue with Uber is judges do not feel it follows proper transportation protocol and that it offers unfair competition practices due to its lack of fare regulation and lowered prices. Uber suspended its services and had been told if they want to resume their business in Bulgaria, they will have to adhere to stricter rules.
The popular UberPOP service was initially banned in Italy during the year 2015. Italian cabbies banded together to file a complaint because Uber was severely hurting their business. They even took strike action against the city in accordance with the law because of Uber's impact on the country.
The real problem is that these folks just want Uber to be regulated the same way as all other transportation services are and they're not wrong for feeling that way. What initially started as a ban sequestered to just a few cities, such as Milan, has spread across Italy to larger areas like Rome.
Portugal is another country where Uber is actually illegal. This ban came about in 2017 on the heels of widespread discord with taxi drivers in the countries. There were strikes involved in Portugal as there were in other countries such as Italy. The declaration on Uber was passed by an Appeals Court in Lisbon.
Supposedly, the courts wanted to seek $3 million euro from the driving company as compensation. Uber has spoken out about filing their own suit against the country due to the number of drivers they employ in the area. For now, if you're going to Portugal, it might be best to stick to local transport!
1 Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia should be the least surprising entry into this list given the country's extremely strict regulations against driving. They only recently lifted the ban on women drivers and even that is still being heavily contested. As for ride-sharing services like Careem and Uber, they are allowed in Saudi Arabia but not everywhere.
Saudi Arabia has banned these services from driving to and from airports. Drivers can be fined steep prices if they are caught transporting passengers to an airport or picking them up. This is discouraging since airports are one of the most popular places people use ride-sharing services.