Uber took a step back in its campaign to dominate the world of ride sharing as the European Union’s highest court stated Wednesday that the ride sharing app was technically a transportation business. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a big deal because that’s what Uber really is.
But Uber disagrees. The company believes it is “a tech platform that connected drivers with riders” according to the New York Times. The end result of this disagreement is that Uber has to comply with the European Union’s transportation rules. This could lead to the EU restricting the company from allowing nonprofessional drivers to drive for Uber.
In layman’s terms, the EU views Uber as a taxi company and Uber doesn’t see itself as that. Because of the decision by EU, someone without a job can’t just sign up for Uber and start giving rides even if they have a perfect driving record. Instead, the only people that may be able to drive for Uber in the European Union are professional drivers.
This decision was made after a case was brought to the European Court of Justice after a complaint was filed by a taxi group known as Elite Taxi in Barcelona. They said it was unfair that Uber didn’t have to follow the same rules they have to, one of which being that the taxi company must hire professional drivers, but Uber doesn’t.
This led to Uber taking itself out of Spain and other countries. Additionally, Uber had to only use professional drivers in the majority of EU countries. With the Wednesday decision being made, the 28 countries that make up the European Union must now regulate “the conditions under which such services are to be provided,” the court stated.
After the court made its decision public, Elite Taxi posted on Twitter “Today, taxi drivers have beaten Goliath.”
— Elite Taxi Bcn (@Elite_TaxiBcn) December 20, 2017
While England is slowly taking itself out of the EU, London recently stopped Uber from operating in the city on its own. The city said that due to safety and security, Uber was not allowed to treat drivers as self-employed contractors leading to the company having its operating license stripped.
After the EU decision, Uber said it probably won’t see its business heavily impacted as it was already working under the transportation law the court imposed on them in most European countries.