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Berlin bans Uber as furious cabbies brand car-sharing app unsafe

The popular taxi-hailing smartphone app Uber has suddenly become very unpopular in Germany, after the city of Berlin voted to ban the service due to concerns over its safety.

Despite offering in 110 cities around the world, Berlin officials claim that Uber does not do enough to protect its passengers from unlicensed drivers.

A statement from the senate also added that the Californian company had failed to provide adequate insurance for its drivers and their passengers in the unfortunate event of an accident.

The Berlin ruling reads: "Uber is from now on no longer allowed to use a smartphone app or similar application, or offer services via this app which are in breach of the Public Transport Act."

Read more: London anti-Uber taxi protest results in 850% increase in app downloads

In the US Uber has countered with a promise to appeal against the ban. It has branded the senate's decision as "anything but progressive" that seeks "to limit customer choice for all the wrong reasons."

Uber has also claimed that it does not operate a fully-fledged taxi service. Instead it views its services as a platform that mediates between drivers and customers.

While Hamburg had seen a similar ruling banning the app, a Hamburg court last month lifted the boycott pending a final decision. As a result, Uber's general manager, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, told Handelsblatt newspaper on Thursday that he was hopeful for a similar decision in Berlin.

It's been a tumultuous few months for Uber. In June protests were staged across Europe by angry taxi drivers who felt that the app was unregulated and bad for business.

Coincidentally, the "protection of the taxi industry" is one of the factors that the Berlin senate said it took into account prior to its decision.

"As taxi drivers, we have to meet a series of rules and commitments," said the Association of Berlin Taxi Drivers, on its website. ""With its decision the senate has clarified that these apply to every player on the market, even digital competitors." Leipold said he hoped other cities would follow Berlin's lead."