Uber Is A Taxi Service, Not A Tech Company, The European Union's Top Court Has Ruled

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A long-awaited ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has acknowledged that Uber is a taxi service, not a tech firm, and due to this fact should to stick to nationwide transport rules in particular person European corporations.

The ruling, introduced on Wednesday morning, represents a big blow to Uber. The ride-hail firm had hoped to be acknowledged as a digital platform, which might have meant it was solely topic to Europe-wide guidelines.

“The electronic platform Uber provides, by means of a smartphone application, a paid service consisting of connecting non-professional drivers using their own vehicle with persons who wish to make urban journeys,” the ECJ's ruling learn.

It concluded that it due to this fact “have to be considered being inherently linked to a
transport service and, accordingly, have to be labeled as ‘a service within the subject of transport’ throughout the that means of EU legislation”.

“Consequently,” it mentioned, “such a service must be excluded from the scope of the freedom to provide services in general as well as the directive on services in the internal market and the directive on electronic commerce.”

The case was first raised by taxi drivers in Barcelona in 2014, who complained that Uber infringed Spanish competitors guidelines and claimed it didn’t have authorization to function as a taxi service.

The Barcelona cab drivers went on a 24-hour strike to protest in opposition to the app, however the court docket declared that its standing as a transport firm needed to be confirmed earlier than Uber's operation could possibly be deemed as amounting to “unfair practices”.

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Uber has argued all through the case that it ought to be thought of a tech firm, however downplayed the impression of the choice in a press assertion instantly after the ultimate verdict.

“This ruling will not change things in most EU countries where we already operate under transportation law,” an Uber spokesperson mentioned. “However, millions of Europeans are still prevented from using apps like ours. As our new CEO has said, it is appropriate to regulate services such as Uber and so we will continue the dialogue with cities across Europe. This is the approach we’ll take to ensure everyone can get a reliable ride at the tap of a button.”

The announcement represents a big victory for Spanish taxi drivers after years of campaigning in opposition to the corporate.

On Monday, Facebook group Taxistas de Barcelona posted a collection of Tweets exhibiting clients complaining about Uber, saying the sector must “bust those who are disloyal” and “get people to want to come with us!”

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On Twitter, taxi marketing campaign teams from Barcelona additionally celebrated the information. Elite Taxi BCN, which campaigns for the rights of drivers within the metropolis, tweeted: “Today is a good day, we belief within the justice system to declare Uber a transport firm”.

Despite Uber's obvious resolve, Wednesday's ruling represents a bombshell for its coverage workforce, which has been dealing with rising resistance from municipal authorities throughout Europe.

The marketing campaign by taxi drivers in Barcelona echoes a resistance from native governments within the UK, the place final week York turned the third metropolis to successfully ban Uber by voting in opposition to renewing its license.

The UK's Trades Union Congress, which has slammed the corporate for not giving its drivers a minimal wage or vacation pay, welcomed the decision.

“Uber should get its home so as and play by the identical guidelines as everyone else,” mentioned General Secretary Frances O’Grady.

“Advances in know-how ought to be used to make work higher. Not to return to the kind of working practices we thought we’d seen the again of many years in the past.”

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