Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Uber Tells ECJ It's Not A Taxi Service, But Is The Verdict A Done Deal...?

Minicab company Uber has rebutted accusations that it is working as a taxi service and should be regulated as such before Europe's highest court on Tuesday. 

The Californian firm again stressed that its business is solely focused on providing a smartphone app that connects drivers and customers, and also made the case that it has helped cut pollution and improved the quality of life in the European countries in which it has a presence.

Speaking before the panel of 15 judges, Uber's lawyer Cani Fernandez said:

"Uber is part of a wave of technology which radically changes the way we shop, obtain information..."

"Uber contributes to linking drivers and passengers more efficiently," she continued, before arguing that the company has made it easier for people to get around, drivers to get access to parking and reduced pollution. 

The much-anticipated European Court of Justice appearance comes as a direct result of Barcelona's main tax operator accusing Uber of running an illegal taxi service via its UberPOP service back in 2014 and the court's ultimate decision could have massive implications for not only how Uber does business, but also the tech likes of Airbnb and the "gig economy" as a whole. 

Spain has been joined by both Ireland and France in calling for Uber to be subject to the same rules as other transport services. On the other side, Finland, Greece, Poland and The Netherlands – where its European headquarters are based – are supporting it in court, as well as the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

EFTA's lawyer asked the court to "send a message that innovation and new business opportunities in the European Union should be encouraged and not hindered by submitting them to unnecessary rules."

If Uber is judged to be a transport service rather than a mere digital platform that facilitates independent business, it would have to deal with far stricter rules in terms of licensing, insurance and safety if it is to operate in the EU.

Montse Balague Farre, lawyer for Barcelona's Asociaci√≥n Profesional √Člite Taxi, said:

"If there is a transport service provided, a company should not be able to hide behind the thin veil of a different service."


The National Transport Authority (NTA) poured cold water on Uber's plans to bring ride-sharing to Ireland back in August.

An NTA spokesperson has said that it is unlikely that there will be any change to the current Irish legislation preventing drivers charging for the transportation of others without a taxi licence.

While Uber has a number of taxi drivers using its service in Dublin, the majority of its worldwide business utilises unlicensed drivers using its smartphone app to ride-share.

An ECJ adviser will deliver a non-binding opinion in the coming months, with an official verdict from the judges not expected until at least March 2017. 

Just to show what a complete waste of time and money this whole case is...and in some minds no more than a massive PR exercise, right and the end of this article, we are informed that the 15 European Court Justices are no more than advisors and that the verdict (or opinion) will be non-binding.

No such thing as bad publicity they say...
So a win win situation then for Uber then ?


Anonymous said...

When is a taxi not a taxi?
When Uber decide they dont play by established laws, which includes all the usual safety rules like licencing, insurance and vetting to prevent the Uber drivers from carrying out a crime wave of rapes and sexual assaults on female AND male clients, plus over charging etc etc

What a bloody joke

Anonymous said...

isn't uber's licence with tfl, as a PH service?

Chrissie1943 said...

So if they are not a transport company how are they licensed by TFL? I thought there had to be a licensed transport operator.

Anonymous said...

If Uber are not a taxi/private hire service, then that means all those that drive for them are illegally taking bookings.

Anonymous said...

All snakes,

The TFL decision makers are hypnotised with all the usual nonsense of greed and not a single ounce of Taxi business experience to sink matchbox.

Who remembers the old phrase "The world will be run by Lawyers & Accountants"? TFL has a whole entity of overpaid employees & how Corruption is rife within TFL's comfy arrangements and palm greasing deals allowing the flooding of P/H licensing applications of both drivers and their vehicles and in particular combination of dodgy decisions which has also cunningly created far too many obstacles in the Taxi trade legislation surrounding future business cost planning and thereby creating complete uncertainty in our business which could allow us to strategically and directly compete head on but because TFL has too much power over our business and is destroying us from within by complete virtue of incompetence by their over control on taxis matters whilst lowering the fences to private hire by simplification of obedience and control.

The outrageous fact that you cannot buy and licence an out of London wheelchair Taxi vehicle TX4 or Vito unless it was originally registered from new on TFL's vehicle system has now created a massive shortage of choice for London taxi drivers taxi & particularly concerning drivers who are trying to replace 15 year old vehicles for newer used Taxis virtually impossible to buy in London especially driver to driver.

The TFL London taxi market was created years before the current private hire onslaught arrived so an immediate cancellation of this gerrymandering madness to alleviate pressures of dangerously low stocks and the overinflated costs this has created on used taxi supply shortages is making so many current drivers walk away from our trade as euro 3 vehicles leave London's roads without available updates but remember this... there has never been any TFL communication given out to guarantee the Current batch of new diesel taxis being sold now will ever achieve 15 years working life status and as we are now aware TFL knows no bounds to their deviousness intentions we must open all avenues old and new to reduce our costs to survive.

I have seen lots of sensible taxi drivers laughable & agreeable posts regarding the impending release of the New Metro cab and Tx5 which will in all likeliness bankrupt our taxi business completely on the current expenditure assessment of our trade income and yet the TFL smokeless cycle highway band continues to play on..... simply because TFL have removed all other financially prudent taxi driver choices of purchasing newer=cleaner philosophy under 15 year old wheelchair accessible taxis from any & all UK countrywide sources whilst at the same time accommodate the flood London streets with prius's regardless as to where they originate in the UK..& complete with a cross border driver?

There are 100's of drivers too old to buy a new taxi today whatever power or fuel it runs on and 1000's more becoming unable to renew or update due to the unaffordable costs based on today so a clear deprivation of choice under the auspices of a 15 year age limit ...but its completely inappropriate to continue to deny taxi purchasing outside London with the overwhelming fact that there is an alarming lack of London TFL registered vehicles under 15 year old vehicles competitively priced.

The importance of re-establishing of UK countrywide competitive used taxi purchasing markets must not be underestimated as it will help enormously in our competitive costs whilst at the same time be reminding the New Taxi manufacturers to prepare to compete competitively by keeping new vehicle prices down & even go further by removing age limits from all new zero emission Wheelchair accessible Taxis as an incentive to buy one.. as wasn't the age limit only brought in for polluting Taxis reasons?

Be Lucky