Uber will appeal order to shut Brussels service using non-professional drivers

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc, the company behind the popular ride-hailing service, said on Thursday it would appeal a court decision that ordered it to shut down its unlicensed service UberPOP in Brussels.

The legal decision came in a case brought by a taxi operator. Uber has faced numerous lawsuits and protests by conventional taxi companies who see the service, which operates through an app, as unfair competition.

France, Italy, Spain and Germany have already outlawed UberPOP, siding with taxi companies that argued the service did not conform with local transportation rules.

“The decision means UberPOP will be required to stop in 21 days in Brussels,” Uber said in a statement. Uber will appeal that decision, it said, and a spokesman added the company had not yet decided on whether to shut down the service.

Earlier this week, France’s Constitutional Court upheld a national law that banned UberPOP, which relies on non-professional drivers using their own vehicles.

Uber’s entry into the Belgian market in 2014 was greeted with fierce opposition from taxi companies. Last week, hundreds of taxi drivers staged a large protest in central Brussels.

Taxis Verts, the operator who brought the case, was not immediately available for comment.

Founded in 2010, Uber is valued at more than $40 billion. Its investors include Goldman Sachs, Google and venture funds Benchmark and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

(This story has been corrected to clarify that Uber has not yet made decision on future of service)

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Julia Fioretti and Raissa Kasolowsky