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Uber is a taxi company, European legal expert decides

Official advice to European Court of Justice could see Uber forced to comply with regulations

Uber is a taxi company, European legal expert decides
The advice to the European Court is not binding, but it could see Uber face regulation as a taxi company.

A legal advisor to the European Court of Justice has ruled that Uber is a taxi company, not an internet company, and should be subject to the same regulations as competitors, the Register reports.

The advice, which was provided by the Advocate General to the European Court ahead of a pending case involving Uber, could mean that the ‘transport disruptor' is no longer able to dodge responsibilities and legal requirements by claiming it is not a transport company but a third party broker.

The legal advice has been issued as part of a case brought by the city of Barcelona's licensed taxi service against Uber, which says that because Uber has not been licenced as a taxi service, its UberPop is illegal.

The court is not obliged to follow the advice of the Advocate General, but if the court does accept the legal opinion, it could spell trouble for Uber which has frequently insisted it is not a transport company and is therefore exempt from regulations related to transport.

The Advocate General said that because Uber sets the fares for UberPop, and because the drivers are not autonomous of Uber, that Uber could not claim that it is just a broker of services.

A ruling by the Court, the highest court in Europe, could seriously impact on the 'transport disruptor' which has frequently claimed that regulations don't apply to it in areas such as employment benefits and road safety. In December, Uber argued it did not need permits to test its self-driving car technology in the middle of busy San Francisco, even after the cars had been filmed running several red lights, because the cars had a human driver who was monitoring the vehicle.

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