Taxis around the world are rallying against the ridesharing company Uber.
As many businesses around the U.S. are working alongside ridesharing company Uber for transporting traveling employees, the future of the startup continues to be murky. While Uber is currently projected to be worth about $40 billion, the legality of the company has been heavily scrutinized in countries all around the world. Whether it's lawsuits from local taxi companies to a questionable infrastructure, each month appears to raise more questions than answers about the stability of Uber.
Current international expansion
According to the company itself, Uber is currently available in 56 countries around the world, catering to more than 200 cities. While the ride services provided can be convenient to anyone, Uber appeals to business travelers due to payment systems being able to be set up directly to the company, so employees can instantly log their expenses directly to their employers. This also makes it simpler for employees traveling internationally, as Uber will automatically process payment without any currency conversion necessary. However, while the company continues to add more foreign countries to its list of availability, many international locations are beginning to turn their backs on the ridesharing service.
The war between local taxi companies and Uber is extremely intense in London, where public protests have occurred frequently for the past year. The primary complaint cabbies have against Uber is the lack of regulation currently implemented for anyone trying to sign up to be an Uber driver. According to the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association in England, it takes an average of four to seven years of training for a taxi driver to officially get a taxi license. In contrast, no such waiting time exists to become an Uber driver. Reports from the London Evening Standard are even indicating that local black cab companies are sending undercover riders to use Uber, in hopes of building evidence and a case against them to create a lawsuit.
While Uber continues to expand in Canada, local governments are now stepping in to impose a ban on the company. In Montreal, mayor Denis Coderre has publicly commented on how he hopes to make Uber driving illegal in the city, citing that the lack of criminal background checks necessary to become a driver for the company puts its passengers at risk. Toronto has also gone to great lengths to shut Uber down, stating similar safety risks as a grounds for banning. For the time being, Uber is still available in most major Canadian cities, but the clock could be ticking for the service.
Perhaps the biggest upheaval of Uber is occurring in Belgium, which back in April 2014 outright banned the company from existence. Despite the fact that the government is currently threatening fines of upwards of $12,000 for any driver caught working for Uber, the company continues to dispute the banning, and its efforts have been leading to newly proposed amendments that may result in reinstatement of Uber.
India has been a country that has most recently made headlines for its ongoing battles with Uber. In what is considered to be the most damaging incident to the company's reputation, on Jan. 30, 2015, a 26-year-old woman from New Delhi recently filed a lawsuit against Uber, claiming she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted. The case has been one of the biggest reasons that anti-Uber advocates insist that the background check policy needs to be drastically improved, but while New Delhi temporarily suspended Uber in the wake of the allegations, the company remains legal in five other major Indian cities.
"Contrast in regulations between taxi companies and Uber has sparked massive protests."
Other conflicted countries
What appears to be the common theme for most of the countries that are battling with Uber is the contrast between regulations between the ridesharing app and licensed taxi corporations. South Korea has even imposed potential jail time for any Uber drivers found operating with non-properly licensed vehicles, and Spain announced plans in October 2014 to begin issuing heavy fines and impounding cars if caught driving for Uber, according to the Washington Post. While the future remains to be seen in regard to international Uber services, the company is still fighting all of these political and domestic pressures around the world.