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Bern target Uber plans softer Swiss expansion drive

Taxi drivers protest against Uber

Taxi drivers and trade unions have both opposed Uber in Switzerland.

(Keystone)

The ride sharing service Uber plans to expand further in Switzerland, but not as aggressively as in the past, Swiss head Steve Salom says in a newspaper interview.

Uber is present in Zurich, Basel, Geneva and Lausanne with 300,000 regular customers and some 2,600 drivers in Switzerland, Salom told SonntagsBlick. But it has also run into some difficulties with local authorities, trade unions and taxi drivers who complain of unfair competition.

“Yes, we made mistakes. We wanted to grow too fast, we were too aggressive. Today we are focusing on sustainable growth,” said Salom. “One thing is clear: We want to expand. And Bern is an obvious step. But we will not proceed as we did in the past. We will seek dialogue with the city and cantonal authorities.”

Uber has to negotiate its way through myriad regulations in different jurisdictions, which make Switzerland a particularly challenging place for Uber to operate, Salom admits.

The company had to abandon its UberPop peer-to-peer budget service in Switzerland after running into regulatory trouble.

“Switzerland is very proud of its decentralised structure. But it makes it difficult for us,” he said. “On the one hand, we each city has its own laws. On the other hand, there is the higher-level law at federal level. We are therefore faced with several layers of regulation. That makes it very complicated for us. That is why we are not present in more cities.”

swissinfo.ch/mga

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