The CJEU has declared that Uber is a transport intermediation service and not a mere provider of information society services

Written on 19 Jan 2018

In its Judgment of 20 December 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union has declared that Uber is inextricably linked to a transport service and, therefore, its activity is not covered by the Services Directive or the Information Society Services Directive.

Commercial Court No. 3 of Barcelona referred a question to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for a preliminary ruling, in the judicial procedure commenced by Elite Taxi against Uber Systems Spain for the provision of a remunerated service through a digital application, connecting non-professional drivers who use their own vehicles and people who make urban displacements, without being in possession of the necessary permits and administrative licenses (UberPop).

In this regard, the aforementioned Court considered it necessary for the CJEU to determine whether the activity carried out by Uber Systems Spain should be considered as a transport service, a service specific to the information society or a combination of both types of services, in order to determine whether this activity was subject to prior administrative control as it is supported by the Services Directive and the Information Society Services Directive, or if, in contrast, it was excluded and could be subject to transport regulations.

Therefore, by judgment dated 20 December 2017, the CJEU has determined that Uber provides an intermediation service that is part of a global service whose main element is that of a transport service. Uber impinges on issues such as the price of the service, or the suitability and conduct of the drivers. The CJEU concludes that this intermediation service is “inextricably linked to a transport service”, therefore, the activity must be classified as a transport intermediation service. Consequently, Europe rejects that it is a service covered by the Services Directive or the Information Society Services Directive, stating that the national regulations of each Member State must be used to determine whether or not transport intermediation is subject to some type of authorization.