It seems that it’s not Google getting a harsh ride in Europe at the moment. After ruling on the right to be forgotten, and forcing upon us without asking. It seems we may be losing the Uber app too!

After London cabbies brought parts of London to a standstill with their protest over the Uber app last month. Transport for London (TfL) has urged the High Court to rule whether the taxi-booking app is legal. The argument by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) is that the the Uber app is just a more high tech version of the Taximeter. Yet according to British law no other vehicles, other than register taxis, are allowed to use such a device.

“We think it is crystal clear Uber are breaking the Private Hire Act – a buffon could have seen what it meant.” said Steve McNamara, LTDA general secretary. Going on to say they are planning legal action against 6 private minicab firms that use Uber after the ruling has taken place. LTDA members are also due to cause traffic chaos again on June 11. Blocking Parliament Square, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall.

So its clear the actions and emotions surrounding the issue are running high. However the Transport for London managing director of surface transport Leon Daniels remains a little more neutral on the issue. Saying that the issue is not clear cut. The rapid pace of smartphone apps will require clarity in law at some point, and this should come sooner rather than later.

We will be asking the High Court to provide a binding ruling. This is the sensible approach, and we hope that London’s taxi drivers and private hire drivers and operators will work with us to bring clarity on this issueTransport for London managing director of surface transport Leon Daniels

london taxi screenshots

Launched in 2010 from San Francisco, Uber is now running in 115 cities across the globe. Using location data to enable the user to find a private cab to take them on a specified journey. Also aiding those without cash by calculating and handling the payment. Google have now built Uber into their android maps app, so the app clearly has a huge following.

It is not the first time it has faced such adversity. Uber received a cease-and-desist letter in 2011 from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. They claimed a similar charge, that Uber was operating an unlicensed taxi service. The Massachusetts Division of Standards joined in with a cease and desist letter to Uber, on the grounds that the GPS-based smartphone app was not a certified measurement device. Later choosing to back down. Action soon followed in New york, Toronto, Vancouver and Seattle to name a few.

Living in a rural area, I have never used the Uber app, and may never get the chance. It may never roll out to anything other than large cities. Despite a few local reviews have not found the service as good as conventional taxi services. Many people in San Francisco seem to value to service greatly. Anything that streamlines transportation can only be a good thing, despite some teething problems. This will meet some resistance due to the government agencies losing money gained from licensing and metering services. But once larger firms embrace new technology, we will see many more services pop up. What about you, have you ever used Uber with good or bad results?

Website: Uber App Driving Site
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