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Uber is legal and smartphones are not taximeters, TfL rules

Uber is legal, Transport for London (TfL) has ruled, after seeking legal advice following complaints from cabbies and a one-day strike.

Cabbies had complained that the Uber app - which calculates the journey distance and time taken and then relays the information to remote computer servers to determine the fee – undermines their business and that the app equates to being a taximeter, which is illegal.

“TfL’s view is that smart phones that transmit location information (based on GPS data) between vehicles and operators, have no operational or physical connection with the vehicles, and receive information about fares which are calculated remotely from the vehicle, are not taximeters within the meaning of the legislation,” it was announced in a statement today.

It concluded: “In relation to the way Uber operates in London, TfL is satisfied that based upon our understanding of the relationship between the passenger and Uber London, and between Uber London and Uber BV, registered in Holland, that it is operating lawfully under the terms of the 1998 PHV(L) Act.”

Uber stated that the cabbie strike on 11 June in protest of the app actually led to a 850 per cent increase in sign-ups.

Somo's chief operating officer Carl Uminski suggested that it was up to taxi drivers to find a way to stay relevant if they want to stay in business.

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