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European Union to Uber: You're a Transportation Firm, Not Digital Company

European Union to Uber: You're a Transportation Firm, Not Digital Company

Uber has had a rough ride in Spain, where a judge ruled in 2014 that its UberPop service risked breaking the law, leading to the Barcelona submission to the ECJ.

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

An Uber spokesperson said: "This ruling will not change things in most European Union countries where we already operate under transportation law".

But Uber downplayed the impact of Wednesday's decision, saying that it will continue to find was to operate in Europe. It argued that it should be regulated under the EU's digital services laws.

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A taxi drivers association in Barcelona had complained that Uber was guilty of unfair competition and misleading business practices, seeking to overturn the status quo that has allowed Uber to avoid licensing and regulation under transportation service laws. Auto-rickshaw and taxi driver unions, forced out of business due to cheaper fares from Uber, have been persistently pushing the government to draft stricter norms to ease the competitive pressures on them.

In France, Uber's low-priced service involving independent, unregulated drivers is already banned as the result of legal challenges, but Uber operates a popular ride service involving licensed drivers that competes with traditional taxis and charges similar but more flexible rates. Under this scheme, drivers using vehicles under app-based aggregators (Uber and Ola) are supposed to get separate City Taxi Permits to do so.

2017 just isn't Uber's year.

"The trade does not object to fair competition but Uber are not a fair player in the public transport world in the United Kingdom", he said. 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. Uber customers, not so much. At Tuesday's hearing, TfL also said it had "one or two" issues regarding the accuracy of details provided by Uber."The decision letter says, well, there are one or two issues about the extent to which the information given to TfL was correct", TfL lawyer Martin Chamberlain told the court. However, it's still a landmark ruling against the company, which may influence Uber's future, as well as other companies.


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