Disrupted by the law

Uber banned in Spain & Thailand, sued in Portland, hassled in Rio

On Tuesday, both Thailand and Spain banned Uber. You know the drill by now: The company’s drivers don’t have taxi permits and/or insurance, and the authorities have had an earful from furious cab drivers who do have to pay for such things. Yesterday it was authorities in Delhi that told the firm to stop operating locally, after an Uber driver allegedly raped a passenger. Meanwhile, the cities of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and Portland, Oregon, have also told the firm to stay off the roads (via police complaint and lawsuit respectively), and an Uber driver in San Francisco has been charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for driving over and killing a six-year-old girl.

10 Responses to “Uber banned in Spain & Thailand, sued in Portland, hassled in Rio”

  1. Dan Villiom Podlaski Christiansen

    Yes, go Uber. The appropriate response to disagreeing with laws and regulations is obviously disregarding them entirely.

    Uber offers cars for hire, regardless of their claims otherwise. If the laws require permission and/or insurance, Uber should either comply with the law or not do business in that particular locale. Just like everyone else does…

    • Matthieu Laverne

      I think sometimes it takes NOT doing “just like everyone else does” to innovate.
      Forcing barriers in the end may not benefit directly Uber but if they strongly believe not in the Business Model but in the more fondamental social changes their model brings, then their effort might serve a positive evolution with a more consensual player. The way Napster opened the breach for iTunes to offer a model more just and more flexible than the old school model.

      • Dan Villiom Podlaski Christiansen

        Napster was shut down due to its clear and brazen disregard of the rights of others. Eventually, the established players — which controlled the relevant rights — got around to responding to its success, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was shut down. The business Napster was in, however, wasn’t illegal as such.

        Uber, on the other hand, has entered into a business — ferrying people for profit — which is highly regulated and which is illegal to conduct without a permit. This is why the Danish Transport Authority immediately reported them to the police when they attempted to launch UberX here.

        If you want to change the laws, the right thing to do is to work within the democracy; rallying support, lobbying politicians or even running for office. Disregarding the law is a means of last resort, and always at your own peril.

    • Dan… I am with you. If you don’t like the law, get it changed, but don’t be so childish as to say, Hey we are not acting as a taxi service. It is like being a 12-year old on the playground saying that it is not a knife, but an ancient “pen” used for doing my homework.

      Being a Portlander myself, I find it hilarious that folks keep saying the taxi cab system here does not work the way I want it to. Aren’t we the town that prides ourselves on alternative forms of transportation like bikes and walking? It seems to me that there are too many folks here in Portland that are becoming lazy and not planning ahead enough to get where they are going. Enjoy the walk, bring your bike!

      Stop acting like children and require those doing business in your community to follow the law and change the law if you don’t like it.

  2. Indeed. Go uber. May innovation and superior customer experience triumph over staid regulatory regimes that make everyone (except those issuing the licenses and rules) lose.

    • Alan Benjamin

      Why not just open a bar in your garage and serve liquor without a permit or license? …Or open a restaurant without complying with health codes?…jeez! Is it true that Goldman Sacks is also a major investor? Uh…red flag?…anyone?

      • Jewles Koebe

        And why not? Let the customers vote with their wallets, not government bureaucrat who is creating his job security by coming up with more regulations and red tape.