The row between Transport for London (TfL) and the London Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) over the taxi app Uber may have reached a conclusion today, after TfL released a statement saying that having sought legal advice, it was satisfied that Uber was operating lawfully.
The argument between traditional London black cab operators, those using the Uber app to operate and TfL has already seen thousands of black cab drivers filling the streets in protest against the technology-enabled service. The argument is centred on whether or not Uber's technology constitutes a taximeter, which requires a Hackney Carriage licence.
TfL, the body that regulates and licences both taxis and private hire vehicles within the capital, has stood firm in its judgement that drivers using the app were not breaking the law, despite the LTDA seeking legal proceedings against a number of them. TfL has sought a High Court ruling on the matter, but in their statement they say that they are "now unable to seek early clarification from the High Court" due to the summonses the LTDA has issued.
Still, the organisation has sought legal advice, and in today's statement it said "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."
It reiterated that there are "no grounds to take action against Uber London Ltd, Uber BV or Uber drivers under s.2 of the 1998 Act" and that phones with the Uber app transmitting GPS data to operators and receiving fare information in return "are not taximeters within the meaning of the legislation."
The TfL no doubt hopes that this statement will put an end to the dispute with the LTDA, although it is unlikely that the thousands of cab drivers who feel their livelihoods are threatened by the rise of Uber and similar apps will stop campaigning against its use.