Court orders suspension of Uber services in Slovakia

FILE PHOTO - Uber's logo is pictured at its office in Tokyo, Japan, November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - A Slovak court has ordered Uber to suspend its operations in the country, a court spokesman said on Tuesday, responding to an action by taxi drivers who say the ride-hailing service represents unfair competition.

Uber said it had not yet received notice of the decision but would be halting operations in Bratislava as it awaited more clarity.

The U.S.-based ride-hailing company has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world amid opposition from traditional taxi services.

“The defendant is obliged to refrain from allowing people who do not meet legal requirements (...) to carry out taxi services in Slovakia,” the Slovak court spokesman, Pavol Adamciak, said.

The Bratislava-based Association of certified taxi drivers filed the lawsuit in January, arguing Uber drivers do not meet the requirements for professional taxi drivers and the cars do not meet the safety and regulatory requirements for professional transport services.

“We have seen the court’s statement today and are putting our operations in Bratislava on hold until we have more clarity,” a spokeswoman for Uber said.

Uber’s recent legal setbacks included a landmark ruling by the European Union’s top court in December that the U.S. company should be classified as a transport service and regulated like other taxi operators. Uber had argued it was simply a digital app that acted as an intermediary between drivers and customers looking for a ride and so should fall under lighter EU rules for online services.

Last year, London deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service and stripped it of its license to operate. Uber is appealing against the decision.

Reporting By Tatiana Jancarikova, additional reporting by Julia Fioretti in Brussels; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Susan Fenton