Tel Aviv Court Issues Restraining Order for Uber Ridesharing Platform
The Tel Aviv District Court issued a restraining order Monday restricting the activities of the Uber ride-sharing platform in Israel. Justice Eitan Orenstein said the Uber Night and Uber Day services must cease local operations by 10 am Wednesday, saying that private drivers lack the requisite insurance to cover passengers.
Uber had claimed that the services in question are a not-for-profit scheme in which drivers seek only to reclaim their expenses. But the established, licensed taxi company Gett and the Tel Aviv taxi drivers union said that the service was a for-profit business unfairly cutting into their market share, a claim that Orenstein ultimately agreed with.
“Your claim (that Uber drivers only charge to cover expenses, not to make money) is simply not correct,” Orenstein said. “People are making money. There is a law and there have been court judgements (on this topic). If (passengers) are only covering expenses (for the drivers), why wouldn’t they just stay home and watch TV?
“Where is the regulator here? These drivers could have a criminal past. They are competing for the same slice of the market,” Orenstein continued.
Uber had also argued that it’s service is similar to those offered by the Moovit Carpool and Waze Carpool platforms, which function essentially as paid hitchhiking services for passengers looking for rides to specific destinations and drivers headed in those directions. Orenstein said that Uber Night was fundamentally different.
“You’re not doing what they are. “You’re not doing what Moveit and Waze are doing. You’re not there. You have got to take care of the insurance issue… take responsibility for people’s lives. Who’s going to pay for damages?,” he asked.
The ruling is the latest blow for Uber, which operates in more than 600 cities worldwide but has encountered legal troubles in many locations both for drivers’ alleged sexual misconduct and for allegedly violating regulatory norms and.
In May, the Transportation Ministry charged the company with operating without a business license, operating without an operating license and transporting paying passengers without a license.