Uber gets banned in São Paulo

Court sides with the city's taxi drivers and orders the interruption of the service in Brazil's largest city

Uber was banned from operating in São Paulo in the latest developments of a lawsuit by the city's taxi drivers against the car-hailing service.

The decision follows several protests against the app and criticism by the taxi union that it flouts competition rules and that it does not carry out enough safety checks on drivers and vehicles.

"The company is providing a clandestine service," judge Roberto Luiz Corcioli Filho wrote in a ruling on Tuesday, adding that thousands of taxi drivers are being affected by the growth of the service.

In addition, the taxi union states that providing a ride service on demand can only be provided by those with a license to do so, something that Uber and its drivers don't have.

Corcioli Filho also ordered Microsoft, Apple and Google to suspend downloads for the app and also block remote access to the users that already have it.

Failure to interrupt the provision of the service will result in a fine of R$100,000 ($33,212) per day, up to a limit of R$5m, the court ruled.

The São Paulo Mayor's office had also expressed concerns about Uber's business model last year. The city authorities have been making things difficult for the company ever since, by issuing heavy fines to drivers found providing services through the app.

In a statement, Uber said that it provides "a safe and comfortable option" of transport for users and that São Paulo citizens "have a fundamental right to choose" their means of transport.

Uber is present in 55 countries and faces legal issues in several of them, including Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal, where it was also banned on Tuesday.

The company started operations in Brazil a year ago and covers the capitals of São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília.