Uber to Halt Services in Belgium, Following Court Injunction


Starting tomorrow, Uber will grind its activities in most of Belgium due to a court injunction extending the ban of Uber’s peer-to-peer UberPop service, to include professional drivers. In a statement to Techcrunch, Uber disclosed that the company is in the process of reviewing the judgment in its entirety and afterward making a decision whether to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

The court order came as a sequel to the temporary suspension of their services in Brussels in September, describing it as an unprecedented and extraordinary one, saying it was merely taking the measure to protest the lack of reform of laws prohibiting drivers from using smartphones.

Uber’s country chief, Laurent Slits criticized the government for making such a decision based on antiquated legislation designed in a time before the popularity of cellphones, which the government has promised and failed to update for several years.

According to reports, the closure will not affect some drivers who are licensed in the Flemish district of the country and so they will be able to continuously use the app. Uber added that the decision of the Appeal Court mainly applies to drivers with Brussels licenses.

Being that Uber doesn’t directly employ the drivers with its classification of drivers as independent contractors, it says the move was going to block the earnings of the drivers. Saying nothing less than 2,000 taxi drivers would be affected by the decision, while urging the Belgian government to modify taxi service legislation as soon as possible.

Uber drivers have been working in limbo since March when the local authority banned Uber drivers from accepting rides via smartphones and GPS, risking sanctions if caught using the app. Uber said the call for the reform of the legislation has the backing of the LVC drivers as well as some other taxi companies in the country.

However, Uber continues to campaign for favorable revisions to the law in Belgium, to create more ease of doing business for both Uber and the professional drivers.

The company also plans to convince the European Union executive in an upcoming Urban Mobility Framework, to address ride-hailing regulations across the bloc’s single market in hopes of policies that will support the development of safe, accessible, inclusive, affordable, smart, resilient, and emission-free urban transportation systems.

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Oladotun Olayemi

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