Uber dealt blow after European Union court classifies it as transport service

22 December, 2017, 00:55 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • Uber customer setting up pickup location

In other words, Uber considers it doesn't have to follow the financially-burdening national licensing laws like traditional taxi firms do.

The EU ruling is separate from a string of ongoing legal challenges Uber has faced around Europe and the world, including in Britain.

"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.

Yesterday's case centred around UberPop, a service in several European cities that allowed drivers without a taxi licence to use their own cars to pick up passengers. The company can continue to operate pending an appeal process, which...

The company argues it's a digital app and so ought to fall under lighter European Union rules for online services. The 28 member countries in the European bloc will have to regulate "the conditions under which such services are to be provided", the court added.

Uber, per usual, insisted it's simply a company that makes an app that helps riders find drivers. However, Uber's operation across Europe has enraged traditional taxi services across Europe, from Denmark and the United Kingdom to Greece and Italy.

It called on Spanish regional authorities to open investigations into Uber's activities in Spain since it first began operations in 2014 and to apply fines if the company is found to have failed to fulfill regulations covering transport services in that time.

2017 just isn't Uber's year. What's more, for European cities that have capped the number of professional drivers or that mandate costly requirements for driver certification, the ruling could harm consumers seeking high-quality, low-priced rides, he said.

While the court's finding did not address the status of Uber drivers-are they independent contractors or employees, entitled to costly company benefits?-that issue is also in play, in other courts, and is likely to be decided in favor of granting drivers full employee status. Uber customers, not so much.

Hoang Thi Ha Giang, Deputy Director of the Tax Policy Department, said clear regulations were needed to efficiently collect taxes from Uber and Grab, which was stil a headache.

The ruling is specifically relating the UberPop-a service that permits unlicensed drivers to pick up passengers at affordable rates-this service could have an influence on the future of Europe's economy.



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