On Wednesday, 20 December 2017, The European Court of Justice decided that Uber must comply with existing transportation regulations.
The Court, in fact, thinks that Uber operates more as a transportation company than as a simple online platform that provide riders-drivers connection. Therefore, acting in compliance with the less restrictive e-commerce rules of the EU, Uber may violate the transportation regulations of an individual member state.
In the press release regarding the decision, the Court stated that “the service provided by Uber is more than an intermediation service consisting of connecting, by means of a smartphone application, a non- professional driver using his or her own vehicle with a person who wishes to make an urban journey … that intermediation service must be regarded as forming an integral part of an overall service whose main component is a transport service and, accordingly, must be classified not as “an information society service” but as “a service in the field of transport” … [C]onsequently, the directive on electronic commerce does not apply to that service, which is also excluded from the scope of the directive on services in the internal market. For the same reason, the service in question is covered not by the freedom to provide services in general but by the common transport policy. However, non-public urban transport services and services that are inherently linked to those services, such as the intermediation service provided by Uber, has not given rise to the adoption of measures based on that policy.”
Although it has wide implications for Uber and other similar apps, this ruling only applies to Uber’s peer-to-peer ride-hailing service, which has already been banned in numerous EU countries such as France, Spain and Belgium. However, it must be mentioned that Uber already operates under the transportation regulations in numerous EU countries.