Uber, the taxi-hire app that has faced strong criticisms in the recent past from taxi drivers, can operate legally in London, ruled the Transport for London this week.
The taxi drivers in several states including London, Madrid and Milan protested against this app as they think that using a meter on a private vehicle doesn’t comply with the metering rules. They were just served a critical blow in London with the ruling that the app can function legally.
However, the West Coast startup, Uber still has another jury to face as the TfL has said that it will ask a British court to make the final decision.
The company has been having a hard time since its inception as taxi drivers from several states across the world have teamed up against it claiming that it doesn’t comply with the regulations of the transport department regarding metering.
London taxi rules state that only licensed black cabs shall use meters to fix a charge for customers which will be calculated based on time and distance. However, the app uses the smartphone’s location to calculate the distance and determining a charge based on that doesn’t go down well with the taxi drivers.
The regulator in the case said in a statement that the smartphones communicating location information do not have an operational or physical connection with the vehicles and hence cannot be considered as taximeters within the meaning of legislation.
The drivers also argue that this system doesn’t pay enough taxes in these areas. Some of the drivers who are against the company also staged a protest outside its Boston office in May.
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association said that using a meter in a private vehicle is a crime. The protestors are still waiting for the final ruling this autumn.