EU court declares Uber a transport company not a digital service

European Union’s top court ruled today that the ride-sharing platform Uber is a transport service and should be regulated similar to taxi operators. The company claimed it is a digital service and should pay lighter taxes as other e-commerce businesses.

Uber launched in 2011 and currently operates in about 600 cities and regions in the world, with more than 60 of them being in the EU. The European Court of Justice says the service provided by Uber “is covered by services in the field of transport” and should be treated by member states as such.

The case follows a complaint from taxi unions in Spain that claimed UberPOP service was an unfair competition and since have been suspended in the South-European countries, as well as other major EU cities.

According to the ECJ, Uber “exercises decisive influence over the conditions in which drivers provide their service,” as in non-app citizens can’t use the service, therefore Uber is gaining an unfair advantage. The decision will not affect Uber’s operations immediately, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed.

Source (pdf)

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