Uber files complaint with EC against Hungary

August 11, 2016


Uber, the internet-based ride-sharing service, is not giving up. After the Hungarian government passed a law in July practically banning its service, the company has filed a complaint with the European Commission against Hungary, writes Associated Press.

It has been over a year since the Hungarian government and parliament effectively declared war on Uber at the behest of Hungary’s taxi companies. Hungary claimed the company enjoys an unfair advantage by ignoring rules that apply to taxi services. The government laid down hurdle after hurdle to complicate Uber’s presence in the country, including requiring Uber drivers to obtain extra licenses and insurance.

Legislation approved by parliament in June and enforced from July 24 finally allowed authorities to fine Uber and similar services, block their websites and apps, ban the cars of drivers for up to three years, and suspend their licenses for six months.

Despite meeting all of the government’s demands, Uber decided to throw in the towel, leaving some 1000 drivers without a job and thousands of passengers to the tender mercies of Budapest’s overpriced and unreliable taxi services.

Bring it back

Even after shutting down their operations, Uber vowed to return to Budapest. Less than a month later, they decided to fight their case in Brussels.

Rob Khazzam, Uber’s general manager for Central Europe, told Associated Press that the company’s aim is to restore service to Budapest, where it began operations in late 2014. Uber had 160,000 users and 1,200 drivers in Hungary.

“We want to bring back a service that has been embraced by so many people,” Khazzam said. “We want to ensure that people in Hungary have access to a service that is available in almost all other European Union countries.”

The government denied banning Uber, saying the company decided to leave the country on its own.

“We are ready to undergo any ‘examination’,” government spokesman Zoltán Kovács said regarding Uber’s complaint. “We only asked one thing of Uber — to respect the rules which apply to everyone in Hungary.”