Uber Now Banned In Italy… Because Competition Is Bad?

from the what? dept

The absolute scariest cab ride of my life happened in Rome a few years back, and I’d prefer not to relive that experience, but apparently I might not have much of a choice next time I’m in Italy, as the country recently banned Uber completely, claiming that it was “unfair competition.” Now, let’s be clear: there are many, many reasons to not like or trust Uber. You certainly have every right to not like the way it goes about its business or the way it treats drivers. You can refuse to use the service all you want and you can tweet #DeleteUber and whatever else you like… and yet you still should be concerned about this.

Uber isn’t being blocked in Italy because of its business practices. It’s being blocked in Italy because the taxicabs there don’t like the competition, and a court has ruled that those cabs shouldn’t face competition. Again, no matter what you think of Uber’s own business practices, it’s pretty damn clear that everywhere that Uber or similar services operate, what everyday people tend to get are better options for transportation. It makes it easier for people to get a ride when they need it, it adds much needed supply to the market, and it tends to be a better overall experience (and there’s at least some evidence that it also prevents drunk driving).

In the end, when it comes to innovation, our general stance around here is that what you need more than anything else is competition. Competition drives innovation. It drives better customer service. Having courts come in and block competition in favor of an organization famous for limiting the number of competitors in the market is never going to be a good thing. If you’re upset by Uber’s business practices, target those business practices. But doing an outright ban on competition doesn’t seem to help anyone, other than the legacy taxi providers.

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Companies: uber

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Comments on “Uber Now Banned In Italy… Because Competition Is Bad?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

If Uber is oh so bad to their drivers, why do they have drivers? Can’t they just, you know, not load up the app and be available for passengers?

Its not like anyone is forced to be an Uber driver. I’m tired of all the whining about their business practices. Don’t use them if you don’t like it. Don’t drive for them if you don’t like it.

I don’t understand.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What Uber offers is a central registry and request service. Just how do you expect driver to connect with potential passengers without such a service? That s basically the same service as Taxi firms offer, a central contact to get an available driver.

If all drivers were totally independent, and offered their own app, just how many would you load on your phone, and how long would it take you to find an available driver if you had to try most of your apps to find one?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Perhaps those drivers should get together and make a facebook page (or similar) where people can request rides and drivers can respond. There, only one app needed.

Of course, drivers haven’t done this, which suggests that either:
A) drivers are generally satisfied with Uber or
B) Uber is providing more than just a central registry and request service

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Uber

Because a system without any regulations at all means people (customers and employees) get abused for years until the industry gets better. And then a new company shows up to abuse customers and employees again. Repeat ad nauseum.

Now, this isn’t to say that ALL regulations are necessary. But companies being allowed to be as shitty as they can get away with until enough people complain is not a good thing.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Uber

If it’s an unsafe option, then people won’t use it(or at least won’t use it twice).

(And if ‘It’s unsafe, therefore it shouldn’t be allowed’ is the logic you want to go with, I certainly hope you’re consistent in also opposing Cigarettes and Alcohol, which I imagine harm way more people than Uber ever has.)

Going after them for offering an unsafe service would be one thing, but banning them because they provide competition is absolutely absurd. That is a perfect example of ‘Felony Interference With A Business Model’, something that should only ever exist in bad jokes, not reality.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

How does it erode workers right? Do they force you to work for them? Do they tell you what hours you have to work and what days to work? Are you not free to be a Taxi driver or a Lyft driver or get a completely different job. Do you not have the option to QUIT any time you want. How have your rights changed since you signed up? How are you so dumb to know what you’re getting into right up front and then later turn around and bitch about it?

Your comment is laughable.

Zomadee says:


I heard from a friend in Italy that the taxi drivers who were most militant at fighting Uber are those that tried to work as drivers for Uber as an alternative to driving taxis, but realized that it is impossible to make a good living driving for Uber.
Uber needs to do the following to attract taxi drivers to work for Uber instead of fighting Uber.
1. Make riders pay for distance driven by drivers from point of request to point of pick up.
2. Include a tip option on the Uber App.
Let Uber start with these two changes and see if the negative perception of Uber in some quarters will change.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Uber/Italy

“1. Make riders pay for distance driven by drivers from point of request to point of pick up.
2. Include a tip option on the Uber App.”

Both of your ideas are backwards…

1. A normal taxi doesn’t charge a fee to come to me, only the time I ride in the taxi.

2. NOT tipping is one of the key reasons why I use Uber.

Anonymous Coward says:


Well Uber is forbidden in Spain For unfair competition too.

Why? For doing a regulated job and saying because computers we don’t have to comply with expensive regulation.

And Spain said yes you must comply and pay, (specially because half of them means taxes for the state ).

If a business consist in using hole in legislation to don’t have to comply with regulation and you move to foreign countries you are going to find places that do not have such hole.

Sebastian (profile) says:

Fair Competition?

Can Uber be considered fair competition when its price model is subsidized by billions in venture capital?

The situation is far more complex than the gung-ho "share economy" media narrative would suggest.

Whether you agree with it or not, Naked Capitalism’s Uber series (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four) is required reading if you want to talk about Uber.

If, as this series of articles suggests – and strongly supports with economic evidence and analysis – Uber’s primary business model is "drive traditional taxi firms out of business with subsidized price dumping, then extract returns from a monopoly market afterwards," then Italy or any other country and/or municipality would be correct in trying to compensate for this clear market failure by regulating or even banning Uber.

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