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UberPOP ride-sharing service faces ban in Brussels

A commercial court orders Uber to shut down its low-cost service in the Belgian capital within 21 days.

UberPop and other Uber services generally offer rides at a lower price than taxis. Josh Miller/CNET

Ride-hailing service UberPop was ordered to stop operating in Brussels after losing a court case against a local taxi firm.

The low-cost service from San Francisco-based Uber lets drivers without a professional license transport customers, who hail them using a smartphone app, in their own cars. A Belgian commercial court on Thursday ruled in favour of cab firm Taxis Verts and ordered UberPop to shut down by October 15. UberX, which requires drivers to have a professional license, will continue to operate.

Uber said it will appeal the court's decision.

Being banned from Belgium's capital is the just latest blow to Uber in Europe. Uber has faced massive opposition from established taxi companies. It's low-cost UberPop service has already been forced to shut its doors in France, Italy, Spain and Germany. This week, France's Constitutional Court upheld a national law banning ride-sharing, which effectively stopped UberPop from operating in the country.

"We are looking at the implications of this ruling which hurts hundreds of our driver-partners and tens of thousands of people who have come to rely on UberPop to get around Brussels safely and affordably," the company said in a statement. "Although UberX is unaffected, we think there is a way for people to have the choice they want."

Across the globe, taxi companies have argued that Uber represents unfair competition because it does not conform to local transportation laws. UberPop and other Uber services generally offer rides at a lower price than taxis. Taxi drivers who object to Uber's business model have held protest in cities around the world, including London, Paris and Rio de Janeiro.