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Uber legal in London says High Court


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The High Court in London has ruled that Uber is not breaking the law with its taxi service app.

Judges were asked to decide whether the way in which the US company's app calculates fares is the same as a taximeter, which only black cabs are allowed to use.

Uber works out the cost of a journey using GPS to calculate the distance customers will be travelling.

In his written ruling, Lord Justice Ouseley explained that a device which uses GPS and external servers to calculate fares does not make it a taximeter.

He also noted that business is handled entirely through the app and that cars used by Uber drivers were not fitted with any type of meter in the same way taxis are.

Transport for London brought the case under pressure from black cab owners in the city.

Taking to Twitter, The London Taxi Drivers Association made their feelings known immediately following the announcement and made clear that they will lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court.

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A loss would have been a blow for the company which is being threatened with restrictions by TfL such as bans on ride-sharing.

But Friday’s ruling is a welcome boost for Uber ahead of its launch in Glasgow later today.

Headquartered in San Francisco, the company launched its London service in 2012 and has seen steady growth in the number of users since.

They have around 18,000 drivers in the capital where 1 million users are signed up to the service.

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October 16, 2015, 1:37 pm

I'm in two minds about this. I'm glad Uber can continue to operate and we can continue to enjoy the fruits of progress. But on this particular legal issue, it's clear Uber got off on a technicality. Regardless of how the journey metering is done (in the app or in remote servers), the fact is that Uber journeys are metered in a way that's functionally the same as taxi journeys, and should probably be subject to the same regulation.

The answer, which I know many people are calling for, is to deregulate the taxi industry, instead of encumbering Uber and other disruptive competition with the same old regulation.

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