Economy

Uber is a taxi service: European Union court

Uber is a taxi service: European Union court

In response to Wednesday's ruling, one Barcelona-based taxi firm, Elite Taxi BCN, tweeted: "Today is a great day, we trust in justice to declare Uber a transport company".

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", Uber said in a statement.

The UK proceedings began at the end of October 2015 when four drivers submitted claims against the ride-hailing app, supported by the GMB union.

Said Dr Park: "We are past the point of having to decide whether to define Uber as a taxi service". The company can continue to operate pending an appeal process, which... That means Uber will have to abandon services, such as UberPop, the equivalent of UberX in the United States, that use nonprofessional drivers and instead abide by local rules governing taxis. 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 assures drivers that they can make great money and set their own schedule.

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But it has run into huge opposition from taxi companies and other competitors who say this allows it to dodge costlyregulations such as training and licensing requirements for drivers and vehicles.

Traditional taxi firms, who have fallen into difficulties since the rapid expansion of Uber and Grab in Viet Nam in recent years, called for equality in management.

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.

In 2014, a Spanish judge ruled that the "Uberpop" service risked breaking the law which led Uber to offer a limited version of its "Uber X" service across the country, which uses licensed professional drivers, rather than amateurs.

Tech industry critics have argued that powerful platform companies, such as Uber, Lyft and TaskRabbit have skirted their responsibilities to the public and to their workers. However, it's still a landmark ruling against the company, which may influence Uber's future, as well as other companies.