Europe's Highest Court Classifies Uber as Transport Service

Uber is a taxi firm and must abide by rules says EU			
				 
   by Aidan Radnedge 
  Published

Uber is now a transport services company in the European Union, according to a landmark ruling by the European court of justice as reported by CNBC.

The EU Court of Justice said yesterday that the world's most valuable startup should be regulated as a transport service even when drivers aren't professionals and using their own vehicles. "It is appropriate to regulate services such as Uber and so we will continue the dialogue with cities across Europe".

Almost a third of Uber's 50,000 United Kingdom drivers are logged into the app for more than 40 hours a week, and around 8 percent are logged in for more than 60 hours, the company said in a letter to government officials.

When all is said and done, Uber and firms like it will have to comply with strict transport and labor regulations across the EU.

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. SBC Abogados said in a statement that the ruling's consequences "can be extrapolated to other businesses that keep trying to avoid legal responsibilities in the services that they provide". The ride-hailing company has already withdrawn this service from a number of countries in the EU. Regulations for companies in this category are very favorable in Europe.

Uber's expected to go before the parliamentarians again after the New Year with "specific details" on how driver hour limits will be put into place, Reuters reported. As per the reports of Bloomberg, the EC verdict is that the company should be delimited as a normal transport service.

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.

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Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania are the only countries where the company still offers such peer-to-peer services, and where Wednesday's ruling might have a direct impact.

There it has faced local or national bans on at least some of its services in Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Hungary and sometimes violent protests from entrenched taxi services.

Taxi drivers in Barcelona's streets honked their horns in victory.

The Barcelona-based law firm representing Elite Taxi, the association that filed the lawsuit, also hailed the ruling.

However, an association representing online companies warned that the ruling goes against EU efforts to encourage innovation and help European entrepreneurs compete with US and Asian rivals.

A spokesperson for Uber said the ruling "will not change things in most European Union countries where we already operate under transportation law". The EAT upheld the employment tribunal's ruling and dismissed Uber's appeal.

"There has also been a benefit in incumbent London taxi cabs, which are now taking credit cards, which they resisted for years".

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