Uber Stops Offering Services in Bulgaria, Says It's 'Temporary'
Ride-sharing service Uber is not available in Bulgaria's capital Sofia as of Tuesday, October 06, after having been active since last year.
The development follows a move by the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS) of the country to uphold a fine imposed on Uber and another online taxi-service provider, Rasier Operations BV, for breaching competition rules. Each of the respective companies is to pay BGN 100 000 (nearly EUR 50 000).
VAS also ruled that Uber should stop operating in Bulgaria. After the company had resisted for several days, the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) it was facing another BGN 100 000 fine if it continued to offer its services.
On Tuesday Dimitar Radukov, Manager Bulgaria for Uber, announced the Uber X service had been brought to a temporary halt in the country.
"We are considering to look for options and to stay an offer our services," daily Standart quotes him as saying. Radukov stresses his company hasn't "given up" the Bulgarian market and believes that Sofia "needs such a service".
Hours later, a message could be seen by users trying to hire a Uber cab anywhere across Sofia reading, "No cars available".
After having set foot in Bulgaria late last year, Uber rapidly expanded its market share sparking outrage from taxi drivers and prompting Sofia to launch an investigation into what it described as the company' "illegal practices," stating that its paid transportating service did not comply with license requirements.
What Uber describes as a "temporary" withdrawal comes as MPs are set to discuss at an emergency meeting on Tuesday a potential ban organized transportation via e-platforms such as mobile apps. The proposal is also know as the "anti-Uber" amendment and reads that paid transportation of passengers should only be allowed to registered drivers.
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