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Uber just won a big legal battle – here's what you need to know about it

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In a major victory, taxi-booking app Uber has been deemed legal by the high court.

Black cab drivers and Uber have been in a bitter dispute over using smartphones as taximeters.

The High Court today declared that smartphones used by some private hire drivers are not taximeters.

Transport for London (TfL), along with Uber, the Licensed Taxi Driver Association and the Licensed Private Hire Car Association asked the High Court to make a declaration on whether smartphones, which use GPS technology and connect to external servers for the calculation of fares, comply with the law which prohibits taximeters in private hire vehicles in London.

In his written judgment Justice Ouseley declared that:

“A taximeter, for the purposes of Section 11 of the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998, is not a device which receives GPS signals in the course of a journey, and forwards GPS data to a server located outside of the vehicle, which calculates a fare that is partially or wholly determined by reference to distance travelled and time taken, and sends the fare information back to the device.”

Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director of surface transport, said: “With legal certainty established over taximeters, we will continue to work hard with all of our stakeholders to deliver taxi and private hire services which meet the needs of modern London.  

“Disruptive technology and new business models have radically changed the way that taxi and private hire services operate and has widened customer choice.  This is welcome.  At the same time, as the regulator, we must ensure that regulatory requirements are met and are developed in a way that delivers the high standards customers deserve.

“As part of this, we are gauging public opinion on a range of potential changes to private hire regulations, including stricter rules on insurance and English language skills.  We know that some ideas put forward for consultation are controversial, which is why we want as many people as possible to tell us what they think to help shape the future of private hire in London.”

 

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