The New Delhi government is only the latest in regulatory or official pushback against Uber's business practices around the world
Uber, along with other taxi service aggregators like Ola and Taxi for Sure, were banned from Delhi by the government a few days ago after an Uber driver, was accused of raping a passenger, who had called for the cab using the Uber application. The ban came after reports emerged that Uber had failed to perform a background check on the driver, who has a prior instance of a rape accusation against him, for which he served seven months in jail and had been out on bail.
There have been many criticisms about Uber's cutting corners in terms of background checks and the Delhi government ordered the ban saying that they had not been registered as required under law. Reuters reported that the Chicago Police were investigating a rape allegation against an Uber driver by an Uber customer.
Uber however, is not new to accusations of bending or circumventing laws. There has been a backlash against Uber in many cities worldwide. Take a look:
1. US – City of Portland sued Uber for being illegal
2. Netherlands – Banned Uber's low-cost service
3. Spain – Banned temporarily
4. Brazil – Banned in Rio for not complying with laws
5. Thailand – Banned for not complying with local transit laws
6. India – Banned in Delhi for being unregistered
Much like Uber's response to the ban in Delhi, Uber has said that even in Spain, it is still operating and would continue to do so while pursuing legal redress against the bans.
In the case of Delhi, the ban comes because the Delhi Transport Department says Uber does not operate fully as either a radio cab or as a tourist vehicle under the relevant laws. Surely, these violations, if they exist are not new, and have little to do with the incident that has sparked off the response from the Department. However, Uber's defence has always been that it is an aggregator and a technology company and not a cab operator. This will most likely only be resolved in court and will reflect on the wider transport services scenario. In Colorado, Illinois and California, Uber's lobbying has helped kill legislation that would make strict background checks for Uber-like companies mandatory.
That apart, Uber has also been accused of invading privacy. Uber has been accused of compiling data about its users' activities. Uber's justification has been that it is a technology company and their data collection is similar to what most other technology majors like Facebook and Twitter. With valuations rivalling the biggest new tech companies, these issues will begin to gain critical mass against Uber.