undergroundnewsroom.com March 21, 2018

Uber is a taxi service, European court rules

22 December 2017, 01:28 | Damon Campbell

Uber is a taxi service, European court rules

Uber is a taxi service, European court rules

Furthermore, without the mobile app, the "persons who wish to make an urban journey would not use the services provided by those drivers". But the judgment dashes any hopes of regulatory rollback in those jurisdictions and could embolden regulators to impose more onerous restrictions on the company.

The decision clarifies for the first time that connecting people via an app to nonprofessional drivers forms an integral part of a transport service. Uber, the biggest name in the growing gig economy, claims it is a mere service provider, connecting consumers with drivers in more than 600 cities. According to the company, Uber already follows the transportation law of most European Union countries where they operate. As per the reports of Bloomberg, the EC verdict is that the company should be delimited as a normal transport service.

The case follows a complaint from a professional taxi drivers' association in Barcelona that Uber's activities in Spain amounted to misleading practices and unfair competition from Uber's use of non-professional drivers - a service Uber calls UberPOP and which has since been suspended in Spain and other countries.

Many taxi drivers saw Wednesday's court decision as an important symbolic victory, The Washington Post reported.

"This ruling will not change things in most European Union countries where we already operate under transportation law", an Uber spokeswoman said in a statement.

Uber is a taxi service, European court rules
Uber is a taxi service, European court rules

It added: "As EU law now stands, it is for the member states to regulate the conditions under which such services are to be provided in conformity with the general rules of the treaty on the functioning of the EU". Uber has had a rough ride in Spain, where a judge ruled in 2014 that its UberPop service risked breaking the law, leading to the Barcelona submission to the ECJ.

The ruling from Europe's highest court found that Uber "must be regarded as being inherently linked to a transport service and, accordingly, must be classified as "a service in the field of transport". It's a landmark ruling, one that could make it much harder for startups to argue that they're simply a button on a smart phone, and therefore not accountable to their workers and clients. "This is a blow to the EU's ambition of building an integrated digital single market". Uber has run into huge opposition from taxi companies and other competitors who say this allows it to dodge costly regulations such as training and licensing requirements for drivers and vehicles.

Harford, who sits on the board of airline company United Continental Holdings Inc., will oversee global ride-hailing operations, marketing, customer support, and the company's food-delivery business.

"There is a broader societal benefit here and fundamentally that's the kind of thing I'm attracted to", Harford, 45, said. "I know Dara's way of operating and he knows mine".

It remains to be seen if Uber's business model will suffer as a result of the ruling and the European Commission's decision on platforms.

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