Uber eyeing a wider return to German transport market
San Francisco – Ride-hailing company Uber is planning another stab at the German market, the company’s chief operating officer has told dpa.
Currently, the company only offers taxi and chauffeured rental car service in Berlin and Munich. The company’s services were banned in September 2014 because its operations were seen in violation of national laws requiring all transport companies to use licensed drivers.
That means most Germans have been unable to use the company’s prime offering: an app that allows individuals to summon private drivers using their own cars to take them to a destination.
Barney Harford said he hopes to change that with a process that will see Uber executives meet representatives of various German cities and states starting in July. He noted that Germany is a «huge market» and added that Uber could help the country’s municipalities expand their transport operations.
«Uber is really seen in many places as a kind of a beacon of innovation and the economic impact we have on cities and on unknown countries is really felt very substantially,» he told dpa.
Options included an e-bike rental service or an airport taxi service, called Elevate. He said that any move to driverless cars is still probably 10 to 15 years away.
Uber gained a bad reputation in previous years under founder Travis Kalanick, who pushed for a global expansion while sometimes giving short shrift to local rules about workers rights and taxi licenses. There were also complaints about the way drivers were treated, ultimately leading to Uber being kicked out of multiple European regions and Kalanick being eased out of the company’s leadership.