Row over Uber app heading to the High Court

 
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TRANSPORT for London has asked the High Court to endorse its view that the Uber car booking service complies with laws on taximeters.

The Licenced Taxi Drivers Association, which has criticised the app for unfairly competing with London’s black cabs, said the decision does not affect its plans to hold protests over Uber’s tactics on 11 June.

Uber, founded in San Francisco in 2010, allows customers to book a private hire car and determine the price of the journey based on a GPS-based smartphone app.

The LTDA argues that the technology amounts to a taximeter, a device that is limited to use in licenced taxis, rather than the licenced minicab drivers that take fares through Uber.

“TfL set out its provisional view that smartphones used by private hire drivers... do not constitute the equipping of a vehicle with a ‘taximeter’.

“However, given the level of concern among the trade, and the fact that some of the legislation in this area is unclear and able to be interpreted in various ways, TfL is to invite the High Court to give a binding determination on this issue,” said TfL in a statement.

Uber’s London general manager, Jo Bertram, said yesterday: “We welcome the opportunity for this to be clarified in the near future.”

The Law Commission is reviewing the rules around taxis and private hire services to ensure the law keeps up with advances in technology.

It said in a report last week that more than half of London’s cabs can now be booked through an app. It said only taxis should be able to be hailed or pick up passengers from ranks.

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