EU's top court rules that Uber is a taxi service

EU's top court rules that Uber is a taxi service

"In today's judgment, the Court declares that an intermediation service such as that of Uber, the objective of which is to connect, by means of a smartphone application and for remuneration, non-professional drivers using their own vehicle with persons who wish to make urban journeys, must be regarded as being inherently linked to a transport service and, accordingly, must be classified as "a service in the field of transport" within the meaning of European Union law". "Today's ECJ decision creates a clear framework and direction for legislators, enforcers and the wider taxi and for-hire industry on the way ahead", Oleg Kamberski, the agency's head, said in a statement.

Uber said in a statement that the ruling would "not change things in most European Union countries where we already operate under transportation law". But its long-term reputation is in peril as it stumbles from controversy to controversy and struggles to shake public perception that it is a company that prefers to buck rules wherever it goes rather than follow them.

The decision is seen as a major setback for Uber, as it could become a precedent for the EU's regulation of the bloc's gig economy.

But it could limit the company's ability to use drivers who do not have professional licenses - a service now offered in only a few European markets.

The court rejected that argument in its landmark decision, ruling that Uber is at its heart a transportation company and should be regulated as such. The company's CEO has said it's appropriate to regulate services like Uber's and that the firm wants to partner with cities where it operates.

In a separate United Kingdom case, an employment tribunal ruled earlier this year that Uber drivers should be treated as workers and not contractors.

Uber is now operating once again in the city but is currently in the courts appealing any attempts to shut its access to the city.

Khosrowshahi in October met with regulators in London, where Uber is in the middle of a legal battle over its right to operate in its most important European market.

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Denmark pushed Uber out of the country this spring after introducing new taxi laws.

The judgment is a blow to Uber's plans to expand across European countries, as it will not be able to expand peer-to-peer services that allow anyone with a auto to use the company to collect passengers.

IRU, the world road transport organisation, which includes taxi associations, cheered the ruling as finally offering a level playing field for providers of the same service.

Industry members said the firm must first abide by transport laws if it wanted to be back on the city's roads legally.

Elite has argued Uber was competing unfairly by building a new model for transportation without the costs normally associated with it.

Transport, however, is excluded from this.

TfL cited concerns including Uber's approach to reporting criminal offences, its treatment of drivers, how it conducted medical and criminal checks on drivers, and whether software employed to evade regulation was being used in London.

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