High Court rules that Uber’s app is not a taximeter

October 16, 2015 / London

Great news! The High Court in London today decided that Uber’s app is… well… an app not a taximeter. This is a victory for common sense and it means we won’t have to make any unnecessary changes to the way Uber works today. People will still be able to push a button and book a ride—without being forced to do something like having to type in their destination every time.

Transport for London (TfL) has been clear on this issue from the start, which is what makes their decision to press ahead with bureaucratic new regulations for apps like Uber all the more surprising. The proposals, which were published earlier this month, make no sense:

  • A compulsory five-minute wait time even when there’s a car just round the corner;
  • A ban on the display of cars when people open the app;
  • A requirement that passengers always type in their destination before booking a car—and for Uber to show a fare estimate in advance every time, even if people don’t want one; and
  • A restriction on drivers working with more than one operator—and on ridesharing, which would help reduce congestion in the capital.

We understand that black cab drivers are feeling the pressure from services like Uber. But the answer is to reduce today’s burdensome regulations on cabbies — not introduce new regulations on an entire industry.

Everyone agrees on the need for rules that protect passenger safety and consumer choice. But TfL’s proposals make no sense. They will be bad for riders—making the experience slower and the app clunkier to use; bad for drivers—limiting their choices; and bad for London—restricting the ability of everyone to share a ride across town. Let’s hope today’s High Court decision in favour of new technology leads to TfL shelving their nonsensical new rules.