• Denmark's news in English

Legal challenge greets Uber's debut in Denmark

The Local · 19 Nov 2014, 11:09

Published: 19 Nov 2014 11:09 GMT+01:00

The San Francisco-based Uber, which allows customers to order vehicles for hire and ridesharing services, launched in Copenhagen on Wednesday to no shortage of headlines and controversy. 
“Everyone in Copenhagen can now download our app and use our service. We've really looked forward to getting underway,” Uber’s Nordic director, Jo Bertram, told financial daily Børsen
But the news of a new major player in the taxi industry has the old guard vowing to fight. 
Dansk Taxi Råd, a business lobby group for the taxi industry that previously fought against the app-based service Drivr in Aarhus, said it would go all out to stop Uber’s entry into the Copenhagen market. 
“We will protest to all of the relevant authorities: the taxi board, the police, the Danish Transport Authority and the Transport Ministry,”  the head of Dansk Taxi Råd, Trine Wollenberg, told Børsen. 
By mid-morning on Wednesday, the Danish Transit Authority had filed a police complaint against the company. 
“Based on the available evidence, we believe that Uber violates passenger laws – both with their limousine service and their ride-sharing programme Uber Pop,” Transit Authority spokesman Mads Grundelund Gerlach told Børsen.
“If you offer a limousine service, you need permission from the municipality. If you don’t have that, it is illegal. In regards to the ride-sharing programme, we consider it on par with a taxi service. So if the vehicles don’t have a taxi licence, it is illegal,” he added. 
Uber plans to offer two services in Copenhagen: Uber Black, in which customers are picked up by a chauffeur-driven luxury car, and Uber Pop, in which private vehicle owners drive customers in their own cars. 
According to the company, the former will cost around 20 percent more than a typical cab ride in Copenhagen while the latter will be significantly less expensive than current market prices. 
To begin with, the company said that Uber Pop would be limited to a six-month trial in which only licenced chauffeurs will be allowed to participate. 
Existing taxi drivers say that the Uber Pop service creates “unfair competition” if Uber’s drivers and vehicles aren’t required to live up to the same requirements as others in the taxi business, which Børsen describes as one of the most thoroughly-regulated industries in Denmark. 
“Uber’s entry will create trouble in the city. The taxi branch will not be able to function with them on the streets. They will create a huge under-the-table economy that will be completely impossible to oversee,” Copenhagen taxi driver Hendrik Larsen told Børsen. 
Uber has already led to confrontations in cities such as Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Berlin and its entry into Copenhagen comes in the midst of a brewing controversy in the United States.
Story continues below…
Emil Michael, the company’s senior vice president of business, made comments at a swanky Manhattan dinner event that suggested that the company might consider hiring a team of professionals to dig up dirt on journalists who write negative stories on Uber. 
He later apologised for the comments, which he said were made at an off-the-record event. 
“The remarks attributed to me at a private dinner — borne out of frustration during an informal debate over what I feel is sensationalistic media coverage of the company I am proud to work for — do not reflect my actual views and have no relation to the company’s views or approach. They were wrong no matter the circumstance and I regret them,” he said in a statement. 
Uber was launched in 2009 and is currently operating in 47 countries. In neighbouring Germany, the company has faced strong legal challenges and was banned both on the national level and in Berlin. The national ban has since been overturned
Uber did not respond to The Local's requests for a comment. 

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Border checks
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
The Øresund Bridge connects Copenhagen to Malmö. Photo: Colourbox

Dozens of attempts to cross the Øresund Bridge have been made, but this is the first successful crossing.

Seagulls 1, Aarhus 0
Aarhus's Hitchcockian nightmare will continue. Photo: Stefan W/Flickr

Officials in Denmark’s second city declared an all-out war on seagulls earlier this year. They lost.

Russia lashes out at ‘hostile’ Denmark
Russia's ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin. Photo: Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Kingdom of Denmark

Russia’s ambassador to Denmark accused the Danes of being “hostile” and “anti-Russian” in an interview published on Friday.

Danish MP cleared for 'bomb civilians' remark
Søren Espersen of the Danish People's Party. File photo: Keld Navntoft/Scanpix

Copenhagen Police have dropped proceedings against Danish People’s Party (DF) spokesperson Søren Espersen after he said that Denmark “should start” bombing civilians in Syria.

Denmark's biggest IPO to be windfall for Goldman Sachs
Dong's expected market value is up to 106.5 billion kroner. Photo: Claus Fisker/Scanpix

The Danish wind farm group Dong Energy is valued at up to $16 billion, leading to renewed debate about its partial sale to the US investment bank.

Aarhus blocks plans for grand mosque
Aarhus will not get a new mosque after all. Photo: Guillaume Baviere/Flickr

The sale of a plot of land for the construction of a grand mosque has been cancelled by Aarhus Municipality.

Denmark's waters are cleaner than ever
Danish beaches are cleaner than ever. Photo: Old Dane/ Wikipedia

Jump on in, the water's fine! In fact, it's cleaner than it's ever been.

Syrian refugees sue Denmark over long family wait time
File photo of the refugee tent camp in Thisted. Photo: Sara Gangsted/Scanpix

A group of five Syrians are suing Denmark and Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg over the three-year waiting period for family reunification imposed on refugees.

Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Green card holder Mehvish Kiran said that her four children would not be able to adjust to life in Pakistan. Photo: Submitted

Thousands of green card holders are desperately trying convince politicians not to force them out of Denmark and say that a recently-granted extension to the scheme is a hollow victory.

Danish economy set for ‘historically’ low growth
File photo: Scanpix DK

Reports from the Ministry of Finance and independent experts suggest that the Danish economy is likely to be one of Europe’s slowest growers over the coming years.

Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
Denmark picks F-35 in historic jet purchase
Denmark to no longer define transgender as mental illness
Danish minister tells 'Sharia' troublemakers to 'get a job'
Danish 'martyr' exhibit reported to police
Denmark extends 'temporary' border measures for sixth time
Denmark nears final decision on controversial fighter jets
Muslim ‘girls only’ swimming sessions ripple Danish waters
Could Danes face a 'red meat tax' to help climate?
Denmark unable to process or issue visas
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
Business & Money
How Denmark’s national bank card is about to change
The best Danish bands you've (maybe) never heard of
Danes leaving the church in droves
Atheist campaign gets Danes to leave the church in droves
Four Isis ‘recruits’ arrested in Copenhagen
Four Isis ‘recruits’ arrested in Copenhagen
Business & Money
Unwrapping Denmark's first zero-packaging food store
jobs available