The ride for Uber is getting bumpy. Barely a day after it was banned in the Indian capital city of New Delhi after reports of an alleged rape, Thailand and Spain also banned them from their respective countries last night, saying that the company was operating in their countries illegally. The Uber CEO Travis Kalanick had condemned the dastardly act in New Delhi strongly and pledged to support the victim, as well as work with Indian officials establish appropriate procedures for who can operate transportation services, though that did little to help save their face. There has been a huge uproar in the media about Uber not bothering to carry out a background check on their drivers before recruiting them.
With the media and networking sites spewing venom on Uber already, this comes as a fresh challenge.
The problems in Thailand is about the types of cars being used by the company for ferrying passengers. They are using private cars instead of licensed taxis, in gross violation of the prevailing laws. The Land Transport department head Teerapong Rodprasert, however, had no issues with mobile based apps providing cab services saying it was legal. Uber had launched their services in Thailand only in February 2014, an extended them to the resort island of Phuket last month.
“Uber respects the Department of Land Transportation and its important role as the key regulator on vehicle-for-hire transport in Thailand,” Uber spokeswoman Karus Arya said. “We look forward to continued conversations with the DLT to bring our innovative transportation solutions within the appropriate regulatory framework in Thailand.”
As the news of the ban on them in Thailand spread, other Southeast Asian countries , including Singapore and Vietnam, also started scrutinizing the services provided by the company to make sure they were not flouting their laws as well.
Span has altogether different reason for banning them however. The Uber cabbies in that country “have no official authorization to operate the service and are competing unfairly with licensed taxi drivers, a mercantile court judge in Madrid said in a writ,” reported the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
The company which raised a fresh $1.2 billion from investors only last week after being valued at a whopping $40 billion has been facing legal hurdles all over the world- a clear indication that they need to set their house in order before they take on the market aggressively. Getting bigger will not make any better if they do not do enough to avoid brushes with law enforcement agencies and address controversies over safety and privacy effectively.