Another country temporarily bans the mobile phone app Uber. As Ciara Lee reports, a judge in Spain has ruled it might create unfair competition and doesn't have official permission to operate in the country.
The Netherlands, India, Thailand and now Spain. In the past few days all of them have banned Uber from taking bookings. The online car sharing service is the world's fastest growing. But a Spanish judge has now ruled its web-based service could create unfair competition and may require official permission to operate in Madrid. Taxi driver Marisa Lavado is delighted. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) TAXI DRIVER, MARISA LAVADO, SAYING: "We pay high taxes, we are legal, we are registered in the city hall, we are regulated in terms of rates and technical inspections and for these people to work without any insurance, or without paying taxes or any social security, we aren't on a level playing field." The ban is only temporary - and many Spanish taxi users - hope it will be overturned. They find hailing a cab from their mobile phone easier and cheaper. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) IT PROFESSIONAL, MIGUEL ANGEL GARCIA, SAYING: "If taxis provided a better service for a lower price, people would use taxis." (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) KINDERGARTEN TEACHER, MARIA JOSE DE LA FUENTE, SAYING: "I understand they are not legal because they play with taxi drivers' livelihoods and there is no safety for users. But I believe there is also the issue of consumer rights and this app should be available, just like any other." But traditional taxi drivers say Uber is ruining their businesses. And this week the U.S. firm - launched four years ago and recently valued at $40 billion - took blows around the globe. India halted its operation there after a woman passenger reported she was raped by a driver contracted to Uber. And in The Netherlands anyone taking bookings through UberPop - the Dutch version of the app - could now face a fine of up to 10,000 euros for each violation. Uber's planning to appeal that ban. But it's already got a lot on its plate - including U.S. lawsuits - one in Portland and another in its home state of California. Uber may still be making money - but its legal fees must also be mounting.