The decision to ban the Uber cab calling service was taken by the Court of Lisbon which accepted an injunction filed by Antral, the road carriers association.
The first consequence of the decision of the court is the mandatory closure of the Uber website for the Portuguese market and of its mobile phone app.
Carlos Ramos, president of the Portuguese Taxi Federation, considers that this is an "important decision" that stamps out "Uber’s illegal activity in Portugal."
Ramos welcomed the fact that the courts have responded quickly as the politicians had been dragging their feet somewhat.
Uber now faces a daily fine not less than €10,000 for each day the company does not comply with the court decision.
The Uber service competes directly with licensed taxis services and the Lisbon launch in July 2014 allowed customers to call up a private cab by an app on their mobile phones.
Antral expressed its satisfaction at the court decision as Uber threatened its members by linking customers to a cab service quickly and at a lower fares. Payment is not taken at the end of the journey, but charged to the customer’s account.
In September 2014, the myopic Ministry of the Economy said that the Uber service was contested by taxi drivers and was operating illegally in Portugal.
Taxi drivers and their organisations in other countries have contended that Uber and similar smartphone app-based services have an unfair advantage because they are not subject to the same kinds of fees and regulations placed on taxis.
On June 11, 2014, in a concerted action, taxis blocked roads in major European cities in protest against what they perceive as a threat to their livelihoods by companies such as Uber.
In September 2014, the spokesman for Uber in Portugal said the company "is legal in all markets in which it operates" and that Uber registered drivers were qualified to provide the service.
Uber was developed in San Francisco and acts as an intermediary between private cab drivers and customers by the use of customer focussed technology. As of March 26, 2015, the service was available in 55 countries and more than 200 cities worldwide.
Portugal prides itself in being technology savvy and advanced despite many examples where new computerised systems have been introduced and failed on launch.
The rejection of Uber marks Portugal's Ministry of the Economy under Pires de Lima and the Lisbon Court as Luddite, as the Uber system and others like it uses proven technology to offer the consumer choice and convenience at a lower cost than the existing taxi services.
The rejection of a service that is good for the customer is short sighted and protectionist – hence this ban may not last in the medium term.
Uber managing director for Portugal, Rui Bento, said that the ruling was something of a surprise as Uber had received no notification of the injunction or the court's decision, hence had no chance to present its case.
Antral is believed now to be seeking a claim for compensation for its members.
For a legal view, see: