22 October 2015

High Court rules that the Uber app is not a taximeter

In a significant victory for Uber over London's black cab and minicab drivers, the High Court has ruled that the fact that mobile phones are used to calculate taxi fares does not imply that Uber cars are metered for the purposes of the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 (PHVLA). The proceedings were brought by Transport of London (TfL) under pressure from black cab and minicab drivers who have claimed that Uber obtains an unfair advantage in not being required to meet the same regulatory requirements which are imposed on them.

Section 11 of the PHVLA prohibits private hire vehicles (which are distinct from black cabs and minicabs and subject to less stringent regulation) from being equipped with taximeters. A taximeter is “a device for calculating the fare to be charged in respect of any journey by reference to the distance travelled or time elapsed since the start of the journey (or a combination of both)”. The court ruled that a mobile phone running the Uber app would not constitute a taximeter because such term does not include a device that receives GPS signals in the course of a journey and forwards GPS data to a server located outside of the vehicle. The mobile phone is not a device for calculating fares, the court held.

Uber has welcomed the judgment. For its part, TfL has stated that it has never been of the view that mobile phones are taximeters, but pursued the action in the interests of legal certainty. It intends to pursue its consultation on taxi apps which, among other things, suggests imposing a minimum interval of five minutes between booking a taxi and commencing a journey and requiring drivers to pass an English language test and map reading assessment. TfL is concerned that the rapid expansion of apps like Uber – and the corresponding increase of cars on London’s roads – could have significant effects on congestion, air quality and the amount of illegal parking.

An appeal has been lodged by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, although TfL intends not to appeal.

Data Central

Have you checked out our new Data Hub? Data Central contains a range of resources to help our clients minimise the legal, regulatory and commercial risks this data-driven environment presents and ensure that its full value is being realised.

A Guide to Doing Business in China

We explore the key issues being considered by clients looking to unlock investment opportunities in the People’s Republic of China.

Doing Business in China
Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
    You might also be interested in

    Keepwell deeds, also known as letters of comfort, are a credit protection tool commonly used by Chinese companies issuing debt offshore.

    23 February 2021

    We discusses recent developments and emerging trends in competition litigation involving the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

    28 November 2016

    The European Commission’s proposed Geo-Blocking Regulation fails to address some of the key e-commerce concerns the Commission had previously identified.

    21 June 2016

    This article was written by Andrew Morrison (associate) Ultra Finishings On 10 May 2016 the UK Competition and Markets Authority (the CMA) fined Ultra Finishing Limited (Ultra) £786,668 for...

    21 June 2016

    This site uses cookies to enhance your experience and to help us improve the site. Please see our Privacy Policy for further information. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive these cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time.

    For more information on which cookies we use then please refer to our Cookie Policy.