Uber at High Court

The High Court ruling given to TfL and Uber will have important implications for the future of the controversial minicab-hailing app.

The crucial issue is whether the phones, which use GPS technology and connect to external servers to carry out calculations, are taximeters, which are prohibited in private hire vehicles in London. TfL has stated that it believes smartphones are not taximeters, but think it is fair the public receive an official legal decision.

Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director of surface transport, said: “London is one of the world’s great technology centres - and we celebrate that. “In order to move with these changes, whilst still ensuring the safest and best possible journeys for passengers, it is in everyone’s interest to bring legal clarity to the issue of taximeters and to review the current regulations that were written well before smartphones were invented.”

Meanwhile Uber has hit out against proposals to tighten private hire regulations.

These include the introduction of an interval of at least five minutes between a booking and the start of a journey, a requirement for drivers to pass an English language test and a map reading assessment.

Uber is urging its customers to sign a petition as it warned the plans “will mean an end to the Uber you know and love today”.

London’s black cab drivers have recently demonstrated against TfL’s handling of regulation for private hire car companies, especially Uber, and suggested that the ride-sharing taxi app puts public safety at risk.

London mayor Boris Johnson has said he is seeking legislation to give TfL the power to cap the number of licensed minicab drivers.

The two-day case is being heard by Mr Justice Ouseley with the main trade bodies - the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association and Licensed Private Hire Car Association - joining in the application for judicial review.