Japan’s transportation authority has ordered Uber Technologies Inc. to halt operation of Everyone's Uber, a free matchup service it was piloting in the country, on concerns the rideshare provider was violating local regulations, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing a transport ministry official.
Uber, which offers its regular cab-booking service in Tokyo, was piloting a service that allowed passengers to quickly find rides with private car owners in the southern city of Fukuoka. This was the U.S.-based company's first attempt to expand outside Tokyo, where it has avoided regulators' ire by working with licensed cab operators and car hire companies, Bloomberg reported.
San Francisco-based Uber, one of the best-funded startups in the world, is pushing into markets from Seoul to São Paulo, but not without protests, bans and lawsuits amid concerns about licensing violations and passenger safety.
In New Delhi, a female passenger who alleged she was raped by her Uber cabbie, is suing the company, and Uber founder Travis Kalanick is facing legal action in South Korea, where authorities have sought to ban Uber from conducting business.
In the case of the Fukuoka pilot program, even though Uber had argued that passengers weren't paying the drivers, the service was still tantamount to running an unlicensed cab operation, transport officials claimed. A spokeswoman for Uber said the company will revise its compensation model and continue to negotiate with authorities, Bloomberg reported.