Uber planning to contest Brno ban

Photo: portal gda, CC BY-SA 2.0

A Brno court has issued a preliminary injunction on Uber, arguing that it should behave like a regular taxi firm. The company has also come under legal pressure in Prague, where it has been a major hit. But a representative says Uber is confident of continuing its operations in both cities.

Photo: portal gda,  CC BY-SA 2.0
Uber entered the Czech market in 2014. Three years later the company – which characterizes its services as carpooling – says it has 100,000 users in Prague.

The US, app-based firm only began operations in Brno this February. But even before Uber got up and running in the country’s second city local traditional taxi firms were up in arms.

On Tuesday the Brno Regional Court uphold a complaint from the company Lido Taxi Radio, issuing a preliminary injunction against Uber.

Judges said it will not be allowed to operate as long as its drivers don’t possess a taxi permit. In addition, its cars must be marked as taxis and feature a taximeter.

Local officials also oppose Uber and Brno City Hall joined Lido Taxi Radio’s legal move. Matěj Hollan, councillor for transport, explains why.

“Uber isn’t paid carpooling or part of the sharing economy. It’s just a classic taxi service that breaches virtually all the legal provisions, and Brno decrees. It’s breaking the law in a huge way. What Uber does is a regular taxi service. And as long as we have laws that apply to taxis, then Uber must adhere to them.”

Matěj Hollan,  photo: Matěj Pálka
Uber’s cars are still in action in Brno and will be until the court decision is officially delivered to company officials.

However, spokesperson Miroslava Jozová says Uber is already planning its next course of action.

“We will appeal this decision. That’s the next step that we’re going to make. And we believe we have strong grounds for a successful appeal.”

Prague is, I’m sure, a much more important market for Brno than Uber and officials here are also saying they want to curb Uber’s activities. I presume you’re concerned that something similar may happen here?

“No, actually we’re not. Because a court ruling decided last year that partner drivers basically aren’t doing anything illegal.

“The taxi companies asked for a preliminary injunction and the decision of the court stated that there won’t be such restrictions in Prague.”

But aren’t there some fresh moves? I’ve been reading that the mayor, Adriana Krnáčová, is planning to take more action against Uber.

“Yes, they appealed. They appealed this decision in Prague.

“But honestly we strongly believe that there are no grounds for this court decision being changed or being any different.”