Uber started operating in Europe in 2011 and nowadays, it has around 75 million users in 633 cities in more than 70 countries all over the globe. Denmark was part of Uber’s long list until April 2017 when the 300,000 people in the country using the app had to return to traditional taxi services.
Over the 10 years Uber has been operating in countries around the world, it has raised many controversies. Some people praise it for offering them the chance to move around the city affordably while others, including politicians and taxi driver unions, criticize it for not providing the necessary working conditions to its employees and claim that the company’s practices constitute unfair competition and don’t comply with the traditional taxi associations’ rules.
Many countries have taken cases against Uber to court while others like Bulgaria, Italy and Germany have either suspended or totally banned Uber’s low-cost UberPop service. Protests against the ride-sharing company have taken place in several cities around the world with taxi drivers blocking the streets for hours or even days (e.g. London, Belgium, Madrid and Athens).
Uber had been operating in Denmark for around three years before it withdrew its business due to a new taxi law that was put into effect in the country in February 2017. Among other regulations, the new law requires all cabs to install fare metres, video surveillance programs and seat sensors.
‘Uber has decided that we are closing in Denmark, and we do this because of the new taxi law,’ Uber spokesman Kristian Agerbo said at a press conference in Copenhagen, adding that ‘this is not necessarily a farewell to Denmark, but a message that we cannot live with the legislation that’s in the field now’.
The company shut down in the country on April 18, 2017, but according to The Local, Agerbo said during an interview for Berlingske earlier this year that the company is working on coming back to Denmark, adding that when that happens, it will be in the right way and the model will be different this time.
While Uber is paving the way for returning to Denmark, the Danish tax authorities are collecting unpaid taxes by around 1,200 former Uber drivers. According to Reuters, the total amount of taxes to be collected is 11.3 million DKK (£1.3 million).