Guess Who’s Back – Uber!

After being shut down for five days, ride-sharing service Uber is now back on the streets of Vienna.

At midnight on Thursday, July 25, Uber ceased all operations in Vienna. A new law in early July reclassified the ride-sharing app operator as a taxi service by applying the same rules to all drivers and companies active in Austria. A petition launched by Uber in late June had gathered more than 40,000 signatures against the law, but to no great political avail. So when taxi operator 40100 sued Uber on the grounds of the new law, the Commercial Court Vienna handed down a temporary injunction banning Uber from “operating transport services without a subsidiary and business license.”

As of five days later, on July 30, Uber is back in business and with a twist. Instead of being licensed as a classic taxi service – which would make the company, its drivers and vehicles subject to various specific regulations – Uber calls itself a “facilitator” (Vermittler) for transport services. As stated in Uber’s new terms and conditions, every request goes to both the rental car company and the driver, making them (not Uber) the contractual partners for every trip – so users are, effectively, renting a car and hiring a driver for said car for a very, very short time.

Where we go from here

If this legal construction will hold up under scrutiny remains to be seen. Uber is now trying hard to lure back some of its customers. During its 5-days-hiatus, other ride-sharing services like Bolt, Holmi or Free Now stepped into the breach with attractive first-time offers. For the next two weeks, Uber is offering a 30% discount on every customer’s five next trips, with a total cap of €10 per trip and for a maximum of 100,000 users.

Meanwhile, Vienna’s mobility landscape is also changing in many other ways. As of July 31, there are no fewer than six e-scooter companies offering their services in the Austrian capital – Tier, Bird, Lime, Hive, Wind and Circ (previously Flash). Two autonomous buses roam the streets in Seestadt Aspern (albeit only with 12km/h of speed). The Wiener Linien are building new subways lines – a longer U2 and a brand-new U5, which will operate fully autonomously.

And city politicians are debating whether to turn the entire city into a short-term parking zone and make the so-called Parkpickerl – park permits for locals – a requirement in every district. As the impact of car pollution and other carbon emissions becomes ever more of an issue (see tweet), more debates on mobility are sure to emerge in the coming months and years.

 

Benjamin Wolf
Benjamin studied Journalism, History and International Affairs. After stints with Cafébabel in Paris and Arte in Strasbourg, he is now working as managing editor and COO for Metropole in Vienna. Fields of expertise are politics, economics, culture, and history.Photo: Visual Hub

Help us help you

“Strong media and independent journalism are built on the shoulders of subscribers. Your support means the world to us.

Benjamin Wolf
COO & Managing Editor

The coronavirus outbreak affects and challenges your life in big and small ways. Metropole is here for you and we are proud to be your news source during this crisis.

But just as the coronavirus has increased the need for independent journalism, it has also undercut a major revenue source of media companies, ours included – advertising.

We need your support to keep it up – donate or subscribe and #helpushelpyou!

Support Metropole!


 

RECENT Articles

Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | The City Prepares for a Safe Election Day...

The coronavirus has arrived in Austria. Here’s all you need to know about current measures, including where to get help, information and tips – updated regularly.

SALONFÄHIG – Austrian Vintages That Hold Their Own Anywhere

The annual Wine Salon in Palais Coburg presented a tough jury's selection of the best of the current year. The setting was magnificent, the wines too.

COVID in High Places: Star Director Robert Dornhelm Tests Positive After VIP Eve...

“Freud” director Marvin Kren steps in for leading Austrian filmmaker, who remains ill following an Aug 18 diagnosis and an elite reception at Grafenegg.

The Out of Control Fringes

At a protest against coronavirus restrictions in Vienna, far-right extremists put on a homophobic display in front of a cheering crowd, while drawing outrage from the Greens.

A Cloth Mask or a Plastic Shield – Which, When and How?

Protective barriers are essential for preventing the spread of COVID-19; but there is a choice and room for creativity. Details below!

How to Enjoy an Art Fair

You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy the wide world of contemporary art – but enthusiasm and courteousness helps.
 

METROPOLE NEWSLETTER

Join over 5,000 Metropolitans, who already get monthly news updates and event invitations.