A senior adviser to the European Court of Justice said that Uber is a transportation company in an opinion on an ongoing case by Spanish taxi drivers. Classification as a transport company makes it easier for local, regional and national authorities to hit Uber with new regulations.
The Spanish taxi association that brought the case argues Uber should be regulated like a transportation company, but the ride-sharing service disagrees. The case has implications for a range of companies in the sharing economy including Airbnb or BlaBlaCar. “The service offered by Uber cannot be classified as an ‘information society service’,” said Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, according to a statement by the court. “The service offered by the Uber platform must be classified as a ‘service in the field of transport.”
The European Court of Justice will produce a final verdict in the coming months determining if Uber should be classified and therefore regulated as a passive internet intermediary, a transportation service or something in-between. ECJ judges follow the advice of the advocate general in the large majority of cases.