Denmark slaps massive fines on ex-Uber drivers

Uber has been declared illegal in Denmark after a driver was found guilty of breaking strict taxi rules because the ride-sharing company makes a profit. (AFP pic) 

COPENHAGEN: The Danish Supreme Court on Thursday slapped four former Uber drivers with hefty fines for driving illegally in the country in a case that could hit 1,500 other ex-drivers.

The four drivers were ordered to pay between 40,000 and 486,500 Danish kroner (5,400 to 65,200 euros), based on the number of times they drove clients while working for the ride-hailing service in 2015.

“The violations of the taxi and transport laws, for which the defendants were convicted, must be considered as consistent and continuous facts,” said the Supreme Court in a statement.

Launched in Copenhagen in October 2014, Uber pulled the brake on its services in April 2017 after the Danish parliament adopted new taxi laws requiring mandatory fare meters in cabs and seat occupancy detectors to activate the airbags.

Uber, which deemed the new measures too expensive, had boasted 2,000 drivers and 300,000 customers in Denmark.

The US company has in recent years been confronted by disgruntled taxi drivers in many countries, in particular in Europe, but also in New York.

While ride-hailing services say they have provided additional choice and improved service for riders, taxi drivers complain of unfair competition as they have to pay for licenses and higher taxes.