Smartphone taxi wrangle back in court

American smartphone taxi service Uber is in the hot seat again – now facing criminal proceedings from national taxi association Antral for having allegedly “lied” about the court decision that banned the cheap user-friendly service from operating in Portugal.

Antral president Florêncio de Almeida claims Uber has been “releasing false statements” about the ongoing wrangle, and “needs to pay”.

“Everything that Uber claims is false, so we will be initiating criminal proceedings against its Portuguese spokesperson Mr Rui Bento,” Almeida told Lusa news agency on Wednesday (May 20).

Bento has repeatedly told the press that Uber was never formally informed of the court ruling banning the service from Portugal. Thus, he claimed, the company’s operations here remained unaffected.

Bento recently appeared before Lisbon’s Court of Appeal to fight the Antral injunction, taken out in protest to the fact that Uber were undercutting traditional cabbies, and not subject to the same rules and regulations.

Uber’s European representative Mark MacGann has further accused Antral of judicial “manipulation” and vowed to lodge an official complaint at the European Commission, as the company has already done over similar complaints from taxi drivers in Germany and France.

Meantime, the App that connects passengers to drivers with vehicles for hire continues to operate in Lisbon and Porto.

As this report was written on Thursday (May 21), a Facebook page and an online petition entitled ‘We Want Uber in Portugal’ had over 10,000 followers and signatures.