European court says Uber is a transport company, in a win for taxi drivers
Brussels: Uber Technologies Inc. suffered a major defeat in its effort to overturn strict rules and licensing requirements in Europe after the bloc's highest court on Wednesday ruled the ride-hailing company should be regulated as a transportation service, rather than a digital service.
The judgment by the European Court of Justice is a blow to Uber's efforts to use courts to lighten its regulatory load and forces it to deal more directly with national and local governments that set rules governing car and transport services in Europe, according to a report from Dow Jones Newswires supplied to Efe.
Those authorities have sought to hold Uber to often-strict rules and licensing requirements that apply to taxi and traditional car-hire services.
While this particular court case cannot be appealed, Uber can pursue other legal challenges in courts to defend its business.
Uber has tussled with taxi companies and regulators around the world for much of its eight-year history, but the scrutiny has been especially intense in Europe, Dow Jones added in a report supplied to Efe.
There it has faced local or national bans on at least some of its services in Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Hungary and sometimes violent protests from entrenched taxi services. Uber has long tried to fight local transportation laws by arguing it isn't a transportation company but rather an online platform, which is protected under EU law from disproportionate regulation. In its judgment, the ECJ said nonprofessional drivers using their own cars to give rides to passengers "must be classified as 'a service in the field of transport.'"