Uber pays more than 2.3 million for violating Taxi Act
8 maart 2019 - Functioneel Parket
Uber has accepted an out-of-court settlement by the Public Prosecution Service in the form of a payment of in total € 2,334,409. The amount consists of a fine totalling € 2,025,000 for the four companies Uber International B.V., Uber Netherlands B.V., Uber B.V. and Rasier Operations B.V. The criminal proceeds in the total amount of € 309,409 have also been confiscated.
Between July 2014 and 19 November 2015, Uber offered the UberPop service in the Netherlands, via the Uber app. By means of this service from Uber, any private individual was able to provide transport services with his or her own car.
The Public Prosecution Service has accused Uber of violating the Taxi Act with UberPop. Uber was providing an app for transport services whereby no taxi licence was demanded from the drivers, even though such a licence is a legal obligation.
A taxi licence is intended to ensure the safety of the customer. Drivers are awarded a licence if they have undergone approved training and have submitted a medical certificate. A licence also imposes requirements on the vehicles, such as an on-board computer in the car that makes it possible to check drivers’ driving and rest times. The provision of taxi services without a licence also creates unfair competition. Taxi companies that do have a licence have had to make investments in a medical examination, approved training and for example the installation of an on-board computer.
Uber committed these offences by means of four legal entities which in the judgement of the Public Prosecution Service worked together and each played a role in the preparation, implementation and settlement of the UberPop service. These four legal entitles are therefore accused of complicity in violating the Taxi Act.
The Public Prosecution Service also examined the role of natural persons. The person who implemented this Uber policy in the Netherlands and was responsible for the rollout of UberPop is accused by the Public Prosecution Service of involvement in the criminal offences committed by Uber in the Netherlands.
Given all facts and circumstances, the Public Prosecution Service considers the maximum fine of € 810,000 appropriate and called for in the case of Uber B.V. Given the more limited role of the other three legal entities, the Public Prosecution Service sees grounds in their case for limiting the fine to 50% of the maximum, namely € 405,000 per company. The person responsible for the rollout of UberPop in the Netherlands has completed 90 hours community service.
The criminal proceeds have been confiscated in full. Uber received 20% of the journey price by means of commission. Following deduction of costs, the commission received by Uber can be classified as proceeds of crime and has in total been calculated at an amount of € 309,409.
Violation of the Taxi Act has now been terminated by Uber. Since November 2015, Uber has stopped offering the UberPop service and in the future will comply with Dutch legislation. No further violations of this point have been observed. Uber has announced its intention to wipe the slate clean.
The Public Prosecution Service sees payment of the out-of-court settlement as an appropriate settlement. In court, the Public Prosecution Service would have made the same demands. The criminal proceeds have been fully confiscated, a fine has been paid and community service carried out and measures have been taken with regard to the future.