Uber Suspending Greece Service Following New Legislation

Uber Technologies, the world’s largest ride-hailing service said Thursday that it would be suspending its service across Greece after local legislation was approved that imposes stricter regulation within the sector.

Uber, which has a licensed service in Athens, the country’s capital, has encountered opposition from the city’s taxi drivers who have accused it of taking away their business.

Uber in a blog post said that local regulation had been recently voted on that contained several provisions that impact the sector of ride-sharing and the company must assess this and see how it can operate within the new framework of regulations and therefore Uber-X will be suspended in Athens beginning next Tuesday until an appropriate solution can be found.

Uber has a pair of services it operates in Athens. Its UberX uses drivers that are professionally licensed, while is UberTaxi uses taxi drivers.

The new legislation requires that each trip begins and ends in the designated parking area or headquarters of the fleet partner, something Uber has not done. The creation of digital registry of every ride-sharing platform and their passengers is to be established.

In 2011 the company first launched in Europe, angering several local authorities as well as taxi drivers who said the company did not follow the same set of rules for licensing, insurance or safety.

Following protests that were widespread, along with battles in court and some eventual bans, Uber has a more emollient outlook under Dara Khosrowshahi their new CEO, suspending operations in several cities so they can find a way to comply with the local regulations.

UberX was launched in 2015 in Greece’s capital and over 450,000 people have booked rides through its mobile phone app. News about the new legislation and subsequent regulations in 2017 angered some people in Athens and thousands signed petitions that a local ride-sharing company called Beat launched, that were in favor of having ride-hailing services.

Drivers for UberX must work for fleet partners like rental car agencies or a tourist company and their vehicles cannot be over seven years old.

The return to the garage and data registry requirement of the new regulations only applies to services that are ride-hailing such as Uber and Beat. Taxi drivers on the other hand can use vehicles that are as old as 22 years.