Uber protests and legal actions

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Uber Technologies Inc, is an American international technology company and transportation network company (TNC) with subsidiaries in many countries.

Taxi industry groups have argued that TNCs are illegal taxicab operations which take away their business.[1] Several communities, governments, and organizations have established rules and regulations that specifically govern TNCs and, in some jurisdictions, TNCs are completely illegal to operate. As of November 2015, Uber was involved in at least 173 lawsuits.[2] The company has also been criticized for aggression towards local officials and journalists. At the same time, people have called for governments to relax legislation in favor of Uber.[3]

Protests, regulations, and lawsuits by country


Requirement of drivers to pay GST

In May 2015, the Australian Taxation Office issued a directive stating that drivers that generate income via a TNC need to have an Australian Business Number and be registered to pay GST. Uber filed suit in the Federal Court of Australia, arguing that the public issue by the ATO "unfairly targets Uber's driver-partners".[4][5] In February 2017, a justice found in favor of the ATO, forcing drivers to register and pay GST.[6] This is despite the standard applied to other small Australian businesses, in which only businesses grossing more than $75,000 are required to collect and remit GST.[7]

Legal status by state

Territory/State of Australia Uber or UberX legal[8]
New South Wales and Norfolk Island Yes (Legal since 2015)
Australian Capital Territory Yes (Legal since 2015)[9]
South Australia Yes (Legal since 2016)
Western Australia Yes (Legal since 2016)
Victoria No (Illegal)[10]
Queensland Yes (Legal since 2016)[11]
Tasmania Yes (Legal since 2016)[12][13]
Northern Territory No (Proposed)

New South Wales and Norfolk Island

On April 30, 2014, Transport for New South Wales, the government authority regarding transportation in New South Wales, Australia, responded to the introduction of ridesharing function of Uber and clarified that "if a NSW driver is taking paying members of the public as passengers, the driver and the vehicle must operate in accordance with the Passenger Transport Act" and "Under the act, such services must be provided in a licensed taxi or hire car, by an appropriately accredited driver, authorised by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS)."[14] In December 2014, the New South Wales government confirmed that they had conducted an unannounced search of the company's Sydney offices in April of that year for law enforcement purposes.[15]

The New South Wales government created a taskforce to look into regulating Uber, stating that the existing regulatory framework is "difficult to enforce", and therefore not as effective as it could be. The taskforce also noted that ride sharing services "appear to meet the criteria of a public passenger service" under the 1990 Act and drivers are therefore required to pay local government services tax GST.[16][17] On 17 December 2015, Uber was regulated in NSW with over $200 million of compensation to taxi and hire car plate owners and operators.[18]

Since July 1, 2016 all NSW laws also apply to the approximately 2,000 residents on Norfolk Island, under both the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015 and the Territories Legislation Amendment Act 2016 – because the Norfolk Legislative Assembly was abolished on July 1, 2015.[19][20][21]

Western Australia

On December 18, 2015, the Western Australian Transport Minister Dean Nalder revealed sweeping regulatory changes to ridesharing services in the state. The reform will require ridesharing services to apply for an omnibus licence, similar to limousines and small charter vehicles. The announcement made clear that taxis would remain the only player in the rank and hail space. Mr. Nalder also insisted on security cameras for all taxis but not "omnibuses", believing these should remain optional. Uber Perth City Lead Tom White said he was delighted the government was "welcoming ridesharing" and providing certainty for its drivers. "This forward-thinking decision will open up economic opportunity and choice to the people of WA", he said. Taxi Industry Forum WA chairman Howard Lance said the changes were long overdue and would provide certainty but Uber compliance was paramount.[22]


Queensland former premier Campbell Newman said, "We are a deregulation-minded government" at the end of May 2014, in regard to the Queensland government's unwillingness to regulate Uber.[23] Transport Minister Scott Emerson subsequently said that he "welcomed innovation in transport technologies", but Uber "must meet the relevant transport legislation".

In mid-November 2014, the TCQ launched an anti-Uber media campaign, in which it warns Uber passengers that they are putting their lives at risk. In regard to the campaign's slogan, "Don't risk your life—Rideshare apps are unlawful, unsafe and uninsured", TCQ chief executive Benjamin Wash said in a public statement: "Queensland taxi drivers undergo daily criminal checks, but rideshare drivers don't. You simply don't know who is behind the wheel." Uber responded with information about its insurance policy, including a $US5 million contingency liability insurance cover and "each partner driver's own full insurance policies". The TCQ also launched an online parliamentary petition to ensure that Uber remains illegal in Queensland, while Emerson said that, since August, the government had issued "more than [A]$170,000 in fines to 62 [Uber] drivers".[24]

In August 2016, the Queensland Government came out in support of legalizing Uber.[25] Since 5 September 2016, Uber has been legal in Queensland.[26]

South Australia

From July 1, 2016, ride-sharing was legalised in South Australia following a review which commenced in January 2015. As part of the reform package, compensation was offered for those in the taxi industry, and a $1 metropolitan ride levy was introduced to fund the compensation. Taxis will continue to have the exclusive right to work at ranks or be hailed.[27]


On May 6, 2014, the Taxi Service Commission in Victoria, Australia, issued several infringement notices to Uber drivers with a fine of A$1,723, after a public warning discouraging people to use TNCs.[28] State officers said that they will review the state's Transport Act, while Uber said it will reimburse drivers.[23]

On the 4th of December, 2015, an Uber driver was found guilty of driving a hire car without license or registration; this case is the first of twelve brought against Uber drivers by the Victorian Taxi Services Commission.[29] On the 18th of May 2016 the judgement was overturned on appeal, effectively legalizing Uber in Victoria.[30][31]

On August 25, 2016, the Andrews Ministry announced plans to fully legalize Uber in Victoria. Taxi licence holders are to be reimbursed through an 8-year A$2 levy on all taxi and ride-booking services in the state.


In April 2014, Uber was banned in Brussels, and the company was threatened with fines of €10,000 if it offers fares to drivers who are not in possession of a taxi license.[32] Bruxelles-Mobilite, the city's federal region administration responsible for infrastructure and traffic, impounded 13 cars aligned with Uber after March 2014 and a spokesperson for the body described the service as "illegal" in June 2014. The spokesperson also said in a public statement that Bruxelles-Mobilite was generally addressing the issue of illegal taxi drivers in a sector that was difficult to regulate.[33] Although already banned in the Belgian capital of Brussels, the company advertised for a Brussels-based "General Manager" on the LinkedIn website in June 2014. The advertisement stated that the role was "by far the most demanding position Uber has to offer."[33]

In June 2016, the European Commission issued a directive that Uber should be banned only as a last resort, and Uber continues to operate in a grey area in Belgium.[34]


On April 29, 2015, a Brazilian court banned Uber in response to complaints by a taxi drivers' union. The court additionally ordered Apple Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft and Samsung Electronics to prevent further installation and use of the app by Brazilian residents.[35] A few weeks later, the order was revoked, allowing Uber to operate normally and the installation of the app by Brazilian residents, although still on a legal dispute in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

On July 24, 2015, 1,000 taxi drivers in Rio de Janeiro blocked traffic during the morning rush hour protesting Uber's expansion there. Lawmakers have voted to ban Uber in São Paulo and Brasilia.[36]

In October 2015, the mayor of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad, passed a bill to allow for a new category of "black taxis" which would operate in parallel to the city's existing licensed taxis but only be bookable via mobile phone apps. Uber has not participated in this scheme, noting "that it is not a taxi company and therefore does not belong in any category of this type of service" and calling it "notoriously unconstitutional".[37]

On November 26, 2015, an Uber driver was beaten by taxi drivers in Brazil, and similar attacks followed.[38]


Uber began operations in Sofia in December 2014.[39] In September 2015, a court upheld fines imposed on Uber for unfair trade practices and Uber subsequently stopped service in Bulgaria.[40]


Uber drivers in Canada are required "to register, collect and remit HST/GST from their fares to the government", regardless of their income.[41]

A September 2012 article in Business in Vancouver reported a dispute with local regulators.[42] On November 22, 2012, Uber announced it was exiting the "Secret Uber" stage in Vancouver and raising its minimum charge per ride to C$75 per hour to comply with provincial regulations.[43]

On December 5, 2012, Toronto officials charged Uber with 25 municipal licensing infractions, including operation of an unlicensed taxi brokerage and unlicensed limousine service.[44] Municipal officials said they had advised the company to comply with local regulations and that rival taxi dispatch apps had obtained licenses.[45] Despite support from some quarters including mayor John Tory Toronto Police Service launched a crackdown on Uber drivers, and a court hearing is deciding if an injunction to prohibit the service is warranted.[46][47] In July 2015, a $400M class-action lawsuit was filed against UberX and UberXL in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on behalf of Ontario taxi and limo drivers, brokers, and owners. The statement of claim alleged that UberX and UberXL violated section 39.1 of the province's Highway Traffic Act by having unlicensed drivers picking up passengers and transporting them for compensation.[48] In March 2016, Sukhvir Tehethi, a local taxi driver, filed an injunction against Uber. Toronto's city council amended a bylaw in October 2015 and, according to Tehethi's lawyer, Uber drivers are in violation of it. Tehethi decided to take action saying that it could be months, or even years, if he waits for City Hall to act.[49] A Toronto city councillor warned that passengers using UberX may be fined up to $20,000.[50] On March 3, 2016, after hours of heated debate, the City Council of Toronto passed a bylaw allowing UberX to operate legally in the city with conditions, while also cutting regulations for taxis.[51]

Uber is also operating illegally in Edmonton, Alberta[52] and Calgary, Alberta.[53] City of Edmonton officials unveiled a proposed ride-sharing bylaw on September 9, 2015, which would permit Uber to operate legally in Edmonton. Uber opposed the bylaw change and stated the timeline for implementing the bylaw change is too hasty.[54][55] Uber was legalized in Edmonton on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 effective as of March 1, 2016.[56] Uber ceased operations in Edmonton on March 1, 2016, citing inability to obtain the necessary insurance.[57] Uber continues to operate outside of Edmonton despite lack of insurance or proper licensing of their drivers.[58]

The City of Calgary, Alberta has charged at least 17 drivers illegally driving for Uber. These drivers are operating without legally mandated insurance, which does not exist in Alberta.[59] Uber was give clearance to operate in Calgary in December 2016.[60]

In the province of Quebec, the government proposed Bill 100 which will regulate Uber drivers. Uber drivers will have to undergo background checks, have their vehicle inspected, drive for limited hours, and acquire a special class of driver's license reserved for taxi drivers. Despite these restrictions, the Quebec taxi industry has protested the presence of Uber in the province.[61]

Costa Rica

On August 21, 2015, Uber started operations in Costa Rica and multiple Uber drivers were immediately attacked by taxi drivers.[62]


In December 2014, in Chongqing, a city in west China, police raided a training session organised by Uber which was attended by more than 20 drivers. In April 2015, Chinese authorities raided the offices of Uber in Guangzhou, Guangdong.[63]

On May 6, 2015, local police raided the offices of Uber in Chengdu, in Sichuan province.[64]


Before the service arrived in Croatia, the Sustainable Development of Croatia party, together with the major taxi service companies were against it, stating that the price of Uber service doesn't include the prices for gas, car maintenance, passenger insurance, nor health and retirement insurance for the driver, and Uber prices also don't include VAT nor surtax. Ekotaksi taxi company stated how Uber would be breaking state laws about offering passenger transport service, saying how Uber drivers have no obligation to maintain passenger safety and service quality. Cammeo taxi service stated how if they themselves invest in their drivers, issue fiscalized receipts, pay VAT, that in that case they consider Uber to be unfair competition that is breaking many laws. Večernji list reported ORaH and the taxi services were planning an open letter to the Zagreb city council to prevent Uber from coming to the Croatian capital. In October 2015, Uber initiated service in Zagreb.[65] In June 2016, the service also started operating in the coastal cities of Split and Dubrovnik, two important tourist locations.[66][67] In September 2016, Jutarnji list reported that a group of taxi drivers attacked a Uber driver who was waiting for a passenger at the Zagreb Airport. The Uber driver canceled the drive before the passenger arrived and drove away, with the attackers following him. The attack was filmed by the victim and reported to the police.[68]


After Uber Black and UberPop was launched in Copenhagen in November 2014, the national transport authority filed a police complaint, as it suspected Uber of operating illegally in Denmark. A spokesperson for the authorities told reporters that Uber had not made contact prior to the launch, and "we don't think their [Uber] services are in line with the law."[69] Denmark's transport minister then spoke in January 2015, stating that, although he was not opposed to Uber, the app was "contrary" to Danish law—consumer safety and employee training were identified as the key concerns. However, a final decision is subject to the outcome of the police investigation that was initiated in November 2014.[70]

In July, 2016, 6 Uber drivers were convicted for offering taxi services without license. The sentence will likely start a flurry of similar trial cases, as Danish police have charged more than 48 Uber drivers for unlicensed taxi driving so far.[71]

On 18 November 2016, the eastern high court of Denmark ruled that Uber is an illegal service [72]


Uber and Careem faced heavy criticism in Egypt at the beginning of 2016 by local taxi drivers for operating without official taxi licenses. Taxi drivers organized several protests and sit-ins demanding that the Egyptian government intervene to halt the activities of the TNCs. A committee was organized by the Egyptian government to assess the complaints of the protesting taxi drivers and standardize taxi services in Egypt. They ruled in favor of the TNCs, ensuring that they can operate legally and provided legal protection for the TNC drivers who had been facing attacks by both state police and angry taxi drivers.[73][74][75][76]


Driving for Uber faces criminal prosecution in Finland.[77]


After Uber launched its UberPop version of the app in Paris in early 2014, the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Product Quality/Safety (DGCCRF), France’s consumer-protection agency, began to consider banning UberPop. The DGCCRF was concerned about unfair competition because UberPop sells itself as a ride-sharing service when it is actually a taxi service (in France, for-profit ride sharing requires licensing and insurance); and that Uber was not paying taxes that it should be.[78][79]

On January 13, 2014, cab drivers in Paris attacked an Uber driver's car near Charles de Gaulle Airport, protesting competition from the transportation startup.[80] On June 11, 2014, in a concerted action, taxis blocked roads in major European cities in protest against what they perceive as a threat to their livelihoods from companies such as Uber. The cabbies contended that Uber and similar smartphone app-based services have an unfair advantage because they are not subject to the same kinds of fees and regulations placed on taxis.[81][82] On June 25, 2015, cab drivers in Paris "locked down" Paris in an anti-Uber protest.[83] Musician Courtney Love got caught in the protest and live tweeted as her Uber cab was violently attacked and she and her driver were held hostage.[84]

In addition to the consumer agency's action, taxi drivers staged a series of strikes, while authorities passed new legislation in September requiring all car services that are not traditional taxis to return to a garage between fares, and prohibited Uber from displaying the location of nearby cars on its app. A court decision deeming the service illegal was handed down on October 17, 2014. The court stated that UberPop violated a pre-existent regulation that bans carpooling for profit and fined Uber €100,000 (US$128,000) for "deceptive practices."[78]

After the UberPool service, described by Uber as the next iteration of the UberPop model, was introduced to Paris in mid-November 2014, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber's Western Europe chief, told the media that "We [Uber] will never make any changes until we are forced to." Gore-Coty said that Uber was "very confident" about overturning the decision and that Uber had no intention of changing its app in accordance with French legal demands.[85] UberPool remained operational in Paris[86] and continued to aggressively recruit French drivers and passengers.[87]

On December 12, 2014, a French court ruled that Uber could not advertise some of its services to the general public in France; if it did so, it would face a $25,000 daily fine.[88][not in citation given] The company's UberPop service was banned on January 1, 2015, under the provisions of the Thévenoud Law, which requires anyone carrying passengers for hire to be licensed and have insurance.[89] As of February 23, 2015 about 100 drivers, mostly first-time offenders, had been ticketed.[90]

In June 2015, French authorities arrested Uber managers Thibault Simphal and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty on six charges, including "deceptive commercial practices", complicity in instigating an illegal taxi-driving activity, and the illegal stocking of personal information.[87] Meanwhile, anti-Uber protests by taxi drivers became increasingly violent.[91][92]

On July 5, 2015, Uber suspended UberPop in the face of pressure by the French government while awaiting a constitutional court decision on the legality of Uber's service.[93] On September 22, 2015, France's highest constitutional authority rejected the challenge to a law that bans Uber's low-cost offering UberPop, keeping the legal pressure on the company.[94] Uber stated that the decision was disappointing but that the company will continue to work with the French government, trying to find a solution.[95]

In June 2016, Paris court fined Uber €800,000, half suspended, for illegally running its UberPop service in 2015.[96]


In early 2014, Berlin authorities ruled against Uber—which operates in the German cities of Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Düsseldorf—on two occasions following a case filed by the Berlin Taxi Association. The first ruling, delivered by a court of law in April 2014, deemed Uber's limousine service to be in breach of local legislation, while an August 13, 2014 decision banned the service from operating in Berlin due to safety concerns—the latter decision, which includes a €25,000 (Euro) (US$33,400) fine for non-compliance, cited issues pertaining to unregulated vehicles and unqualified drivers who are not properly insured. A Berlin Taxi Association representative said on August 14 that the legal proceedings were ongoing, and that Uber could lodge an appeal against the second decision.[97]

On August 28, 2014, a court in Frankfurt issued an immediate cease and desist order against Uber, following an appeal from the cooperative Taxi Deutschland.[98] The preliminary injunction applied to all of Germany[99] and included a fine of €250,000 per ride for non-compliance.[100][101] If the injunction was breached, Uber's German-based employees could be jailed for up to six months, in addition to an imposition of fines upon the company.[102] Uber's premium Uber Black service was not affected by the ruling.[103]

On September 16, 2014, the district court of Frankfurt revoked the preliminary injunction, thereby re-allowing Uber to operate in Germany.[98] The presiding judge wrote that the Taxi Deutschland case "would have had prospects for success", but the case was merely lodged too late, as any case needs to be filed within two months of a service's launch—Uber started in Germany in April 2014, but the case was filed in August 2014.[103] According to Taxi Deutschland's legal representative after the announcement of the decision, the body had "already decided to appeal the decision, and we [Taxi Deutschland] will also seek that the temporary injunction be reinstated", meaning that the matter must be heard in a higher court.[104]

On March 18, 2015, the Frankfurt district court imposed a nationwide ban on local transport services using Uber and UberPop smartphone apps. Each violation of this Uber order would be subject to a 250,000 euro fine. According to the presiding judge, there is a violation of the passenger transport law because drivers operate without authorisation and don't have the right kinds of licenses. He also said that the company did not carry sufficient insurance to cover Uber’s services.[105][106][107][108][102][109]

In May 2015, Uber ceased UberPop and replaced it by UberX which is more similar to a conventional chauffeur service. According to Uber, this new service is now compatible with German law.[110]

Hong Kong

On August 11, 2015, Hong Kong Police raided Uber's office after arresting five drivers in a sting operation aimed at combating illegal taxis.[111][112] 2 more drivers were arrested on the next day. However, the Hong Kong government investment agency, InvestHK, had been endorsing Uber as one of its “success stories” on its website, although the endorsement was later removed.[113]


Uber is an illegal taxi service in Hungary and has suspended operations there. The Tax Authority received the right to block the illegal services of Uber from the internet.[114]

Uber drivers can get fined up to 800,000 HUF, authorities can remove the licence plates of driver. All controlled drivers were illegal.[115]



The Hyderabad road transport authority banned Uber cabs a day after the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs advised all states to stop the operation of web-based taxi services. A spokesman for the authority said that Uber did not hold a license to operate in the city, and asked the public to cease using Uber cab services.[116]


After Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced in Parliament on December 9, 2014, that he had advised all states and Union territories to ban unregistered and unlicensed cab services, the state government of Karnataka banned Uber on December 11, 2014.[117][118]

New Delhi

In December 2014, following allegations of rape against an Uber driver in New Delhi, India, Uber was banned from New Delhi for not following the city's compulsory police verification procedure.[119][120] The driver had been charged, then acquitted, of a prior sexual assault in 2011.[119] Within two days of the rape incident, almost 7,000 people signed a petition calling on Uber to conduct mandatory seven-year background checks on drivers, in line with its U.S. operations.[121] Delhi's transport department banned Uber from all activities related to the provision of any type of transport service in the city.[122] Uber issued a statement stating that it would work with the Indian government "to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs."[123]

In banning Uber, Delhi's transport department cited several rules that Uber had broken. According to New Delhi's Radio Taxi Scheme, 2006, all taxi licensees must be either a company under the Companies Act, 2013 (or the 1956 Act), or a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Furthermore, taxi services must provide adequate parking space for all taxis, as well as sufficiently sized office space to accommodate the control room, the maintenance of a minimum fleet size per license (500 vehicles), and all vehicles must be fitted with GPS/GPRS tracking systems (to be in constant communication with the control room while on duty). The rules also stipulate that the taxi licensee is responsible for ensuring the quality of drivers, including police verifications, supervision, and employee behaviour.[123]

Uber is faced with limits to the number of drivers that are allowed to operate.[124]


On March 22, 2016, thousands of taxi drivers in Jakarta demonstrated against Uber and a similar service, Grab. Several places were targeted during the protests, including the Istana Merdeka, the DPR/MPR Building, and the Ministry of Communication and Informatics central office.[125] Taxi drivers accused that Grab and Uber were causing them to receive smaller daily incomes due to the rising number of app users. The demonstrators also demanded that the government ban the apps and issue a governmental decree concerning this problem.[126]


In May 2015, the Milan Court banned Uberpop alleging "unfair competition" and violation of the local jurisdiction regulating taxi services. The lawsuit was originally initiated by the Italian taxi drivers union.[127]

On May 25, 2015, Italian judge dott. Claudio Marangoni banned the UberPop app for unfair competition practices.[128]

On April 6, 2017, Italian judge dott. Alfredo Landi banned the UberBlack, Uber-Lux, Uber-SUV, Uber-X, Uber-XL, UberSelect and Uber-Van app throughout Italy for unfair competition practices.[129]


On December 8, 2014, Dutch judges banned the UberPop ridesharing service that was launched as a pilot project in Amsterdam between July and September 2014, followed by an expansion into The Hague and Rotterdam. The Hague-based Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal ruled: "Drivers who transport people for payment without a licence are breaking the law". Uber's official response indicated that the company would continue to offer the service, despite the €100,000 fine and the €40,000 fine for drivers who are apprehended.[130]


On October 15, 2014, five Uber drivers have been involved in a crackdown by the Road Transport Department (JPJ), under the Ops Teksi Uber 2014 operation – which began on October 1. The four other vehicles were returned to their respective owners – with their documents confiscated pending further investigation by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD). Due to a wide range of circumstances, the four vehicles could be returned to owners should proper documents and other factors correlate.[131] On October 17, 2014, JPJ will continue its crackdown on drivers and cars affiliated to the personal driver app, which has been growing in popularity with urbanites. Despite the hiccup, the department suspects that Uber services are still available for loyal customers.[132] Since October 2014, the Land Public Transport Commission has impounded 44 Uber vehicles, using many methods such as tracking the vehicles using Uber's app.[133][134] It was also reported that some taxi drivers have taken it upon themselves to nab Uber drivers and turn them over to the police.[135][136]

Legislation to legalize Uber was finally implemented in 2016.[137]

New Zealand

In January 2015, a number of Uber vehicles were stopped by New Zealand Police. The police's position is that Uber is in violation of the Land Transport Act because the fares are not agreed upon ahead of time; hence, Uber hires do not fit the legal definition of a "private hire service", in accordance with its registration in New Zealand. Two Uber drivers were charged with violating the Land Transport Act and face fines of up to NZ$10,000.[138]

On January 20, 2015, the Associate Transport Minister, Craig Foss, said that the rules covering taxis and private hire services, including Uber, will be reviewed by New Zealand officials by mid-2015.[139]

In April and May 2016 the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) sent warnings to seventeen Uber drivers who did not comply with current regulations.[140]


Uber made its mobile app available for Norwegian cities in 2014.[141]

According to the Norwegian Professional Transport Act a taxi license is required to charge for passenger transport "addressed to general public on public space"[142] More drivers have been fined for pirate taxi business for violation of the law. In 2015 tried Uber-driver for this court and this acceptance was acquitted because the court found that communication through a mobile app was not to be regarded as "public space."[143]

Using Uber offered passengers the compensation to any customers via a mobile application. Logged Uber drivers make themselves available for customers who want transport. The provision of passenger transport in return for remuneration is thus not aimed at the audience in a public place. Relationship affected accordingly excluded from the law as it naturally must be understood.

Taxi owners' organizations have argued that Uber is considered to be an organized pirate taxi operations, while supporters of liberalization mean business model Uber is more forward-looking and making it easier to "run white" and can facilitate greater safety for passengers.[144][145]


On October 23, 2014, despite the recommendation of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority,[146] the Philippine Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) imposed a ₱120,000 (US$2,676) to ₱200,000 (US$4,460) fine for the use of the Uber app on public utility vehicles and sedans, respectively.[147] A spokesperson for the board said that the fines were issued because Uber did not have an approved franchise to operate in the country—they were not directed at the service itself.[147] The LTFRB also remarked that Uber can still operate in Metro Manila if the Philippine House of Representatives grants the company a proper legislative franchise, saying "We want this scheme work in the Philippines because the application is good, but it has to work inside the context of Philippine laws."[148]

On October 30, 2014, after an intervention from the Department of Transportation and Communications, the LTFRB temporarily suspended its campaign of apprehending Uber vehicles and will review its operations.[149]

Amid opposition from taxi companies, On May 10, 2015, Uber and similar services finally gained legal ground to operate, with the country's Department of Transportation and Communications giving them a new classification as The Transportation Network Vehicle Service. The country requires a GPS system installed, a young fleet of vehicles, and the appropriate permits. Taxis were also given a chance to compete by also giving them a sub-classification that matches features found in Uber and other similar services. But the LTFRB mentions that if Uber does not secure registration to have a legal franchise by August 21, 2015, their services will be permanently halted.[150] Uber then complied and secured government registration to become the country's second "transportation network company" or "TNC" after GrabCar on August 19, 2015.[151] Individual vehicle operators however still need to undergo separate registrations with the LTFRB.[151]

The service was suspended for a month on August 14, 2017, due to the defiance of LTFRB's order on not to accredit drivers in their systems starting July 26, 2017.[152] The suspension was not without criticism as netizens expressed their outrage in the issue.


Although Uber itself, as the provider, is fully legal in Poland, drivers work illegally. Providing transport services in Poland, according to Road Transport Act (Ustawa o Transporcie Drogowym) requires a permit. The service provided by Uber drivers specifically requires a permit for providing transport services with a taxicab. To get a permit a driver must take both medical and psychomotoric tests, must lead a company or be employed by one, and a car must be equipped with a taximeter, a cash register and a taxi sign. Unless drivers do have the permit, they commit an offence against the Road Transport Act and unless they have a cash register they commit an offence against Value Added Tax Act, both punishable by a fine of up to 5000 PLN each. Several judicial proceedings against Uber drivers have been taking place.,[153][154]

Following the commencement of Uber services in Warsaw, Jaroslaw Iglikowski, chief of the Union of Warsaw Taxi Drivers, said: "We will put pressure on politicians, and demand that they change the regulations [for firms offering taxi services]."[155]

Following protests by taxi drivers, laws were modified so that Uber drivers do not enjoy a regulatory advantage over taxi drivers.[156]


On April 29, 2016, a massive protest organized by taxi drivers and associations took place in major cities. During the protest at least one taxi company of Porto refused calls due to having no available taxis, causing the Uber app to move to the top of the app stores' downloads.[157] The Government hasn't yet come to a decision on Uber, although a minister was quoted as saying it is illegal.[158] A rule by a Lisbon court had already caused ISPs to block Uber sites in 2015.[159]


In May 2015, the Romanian Parliament adopted a law which banned transport services by unauthorized drivers, effectively making Uber illegal; however, Uber continues to operate in Romania as it battles in the courts.[160]

Saudi Arabia

In March 2017, Saudi Arabia banned Uber and Careem from picking up at airport, citing license requirements. Saudi Arabia had earlier banned the TNCs from allowing non-Saudis to register as drivers.[161]


In February 2017, Land Transport Authority (LTA) in Singapore ruled that private hire cars who used Uber or Grab service are not exempted from child seat requirement. For safety reasons, all vehicles in Singapore must have booster seats or child restraints for passengers under 1.35m in height. [162]

In March 2017, LTA introduced a new regulation for private hire cars called Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence (PDVL) which will take effect in July 2017.[163] This is to ensure that commuter's interest is better protected n particular safety.[164]

South Africa

Over 30 vehicles operating for the Uber service in Cape Town were impounded at the beginning of January 2015. Local transport officials claimed that the service was operating without suitable permits.[165]

In Cape Town, on June 3, 2016, metered taxi drivers blockaded the road to the city's airport and forced passengers out of vehicles whilst attacking Uber drivers.[166]

South Korea

The Seoul city government released an official statement in July 2014 expressing its intention to seek a ban on Uber's smartphone app. The government stated that South Korean law prohibits fee-paying transport services that use unregistered private or rented vehicles, and a Seoul driver received a one-million won (US$974) fine in April 2014 after using Uber to solicit customers in a rented car. The city government also initiated a police investigation of Uber in June 2014, but the request was suspended due to a lack of evidence; however, the July statement indicated that the investigation would be recommenced. A response from Uber warned the government that it risked being "trapped in the past."[167]

In December 2014, the company's Korean office announced that the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office had issued an indictment against both them and Kalanick. The indictment is in regard to the violation of a Korean law prohibiting individuals or firms without appropriate licences from providing or facilitating transportation services.[168]


Since it began operations in Spain, the company had been the target of a series of protests by the Madrid Taxi Association, which considers the app to be unfair competition. On December 9, 2014, a judge ordered Uber to cease all activities in Spain. In a statement after the ruling, the Spanish court stated that drivers "lack the administrative authorisation to carry out the job, and the activity they carry out constitutes unfair competition."[169] The company suspended its operations in Spain on December 30, 2014.[170]

Uber restarted operations in Spain in March 2016, this time using only licensed drivers.[171][172]


As of December 6, 2014, Uber Taiwan had received over NT$1,000,000 in fines for operating illegally, including a cease and desist of the app, on December 5, 2014. Issues included failure to insure vehicles, operating like a business without a business license, metered fares unknown to passengers, metered fares not inspected by the Ministry of Transportation and Communication, and failure to report income and pay taxes. Many drivers had their licenses suspended for violations.[173] In December 2014, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced that the company was operating unlicensed taxis in violation of national law, and that the government was considering blocking the service.[174]

In 2016, it is reported that the Transportation Ministry will seek to amend the laws to allow Uber to remain in Taiwan and operate legally.[175]

Uber received heavy penalties racked up fines worth 231 million Taiwan dollars ($7.4 million) in just two weeks after new rules introduced on Jan 6th, 2017. On February 2, 2017, Uber announced it is suspending its service in Taiwan after being hit with millions of dollars in fines by the government.[176]


Following concerns raised by taxi drivers in Thailand over the lower rates charged by Uber drivers, the head of the country's Department of Land Transport, Teerapong Rodpraser, declared Uber illegal on November 28, 2014, alleging that Uber vehicles are not properly registered in Thailand, the charging methods of Uber drivers are not valid, Thai Uber drivers are not properly licensed, and the service discriminates against people who do not possess credit cards.[177]

The Department also raised security concerns over Uber's credit card-only policy in Thailand, and Teerapong said that Uber was also illegal under Thailand's Motor Vehicle Act B.E. 2522. As of the November 2014 announcement, the Uber Black and UberX services are available in the Thai cities of Bangkok and Phuket.[177]

Following the announcement, Uber drivers faced a maximum 4,000-baht fine if caught by police. Meanwhile, a meeting of different government agencies was held to decide how Uber services would be managed in the future—the outcome was not publicized in the media at the time of the announcement.[177]

United Arab Emirates


In January 2017, after a long spat with regulators, Uber signed an agreement with the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai. Under this deal, Uber will be entitled to deploy about 14,000 vehicles around the city.[178]

United Kingdom

On June 11, 2014, London-based Hackney carriage (black cab) drivers, members of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, disrupted traffic as a protest against Transport for London's refusal to stop Uber's calculation of fares based on distance and time taken, as they claimed it infringes upon their right to be the sole users of taximeters in London.[179] The following week, London mayor Boris Johnson stated it would be "difficult" for him to ban Uber "without the risk of a judicial review"; however, he expressed sympathy for the view of the black-cab drivers:

I think it's a very difficult [question] ... We've gone to the high court to get a ruling on this, and the issue is basically: is the driver's mobile in the cab equivalent to a taxi meter? I can see why m'learned friends might think that it is, because it's receiving data about, or it's calculating, the distance and time and the fare. And there are other lawyers who say that it isn't, and that was the advice of the counsel to TfL. And so we've got a legal problem.[180]

In a blog post black-cab driver Rooney Johan wrote: "if they (had) included us and the limousine companies instead of the private cars we would have acted differently", which was followed by another black-cab owner George Ryan saying: "if Uber want to operate outside US they have to modify their business model". Following the black-cab protest, driver Richard Cudlip wrote in his blog, "as a trade we failed to get our message across". Cudlip also said he was concerned about safety in minicabs, slow issuing (and reissuing) of black-cab licences, a failure to prevent minicabs from illegally touting for business, and a lack of space outside key London tourist destinations.[180]

On 16 October 2015, after Transport for London brought a case to the High Court of Justice to determine whether the way Uber's app calculates a fare falls under the definition of a taximeter, it was ruled that the app is legal in London.[181]

On 28 October 2016, in a landmark ruling, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled that Uber drivers are "workers" entitled to the minimum wage, paid holiday, sick leave and other normal worker entitlements, rather than self-employed. Two Uber drivers had brought the case to the employment tribunal with the assistance of the GMB Union on 20 July 2016.[182][183][184] The ruling could have implications wider than just Uber, throughout the so-called gig economy.[185]

United States

In January 2017, Uber agreed to pay $20 million to the US government to resolve accusations by the FTC of having misled drivers about potential earnings.[186][187][188]

According to a February 2017 lawsuit filed by Waymo, owned by an affiliate of Google, ex-Google employee Anthony Levandowski allegedly "downloaded 9.7 GB of Waymo’s highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files and testing documentation" before resigning to found Otto, which was purchased by Uber.[189][190] A ruling in May 2017 required Uber to return documents to Waymo.[191]

In 2017 a suit was filed against Uber alleging that Uber uses "sophisticated software" to defraud both drivers and passengers. According to the suit, under the upfront pricing model, when a passenger is quoted a price the app shows a longer more expensive route, meanwhile would-be drivers are shown a shorter cheaper route. The passenger is charged for the more expensive route, while the driver is paid the cheaper, with Uber pocketing the difference.[192]


In September 2015, Uber paid the State of Alaska $77,925 and paused operations in Anchorage. The state argued that Uber was misclassifying drivers as contractors instead of employees, which violated state law. The state held that Uber could not operate in Alaska until the company complied with state laws.[193]


In May 2011, Uber received a cease-and-desist letter from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, claiming it was operating an unlicensed taxi service, and another legal demand from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that it was operating an unlicensed limousine dispatch. Both claimed criminal violations and demanded that the company cease operations. In response, the company, among other things, changed its name from UberCab to Uber.[194] In the fall of 2012, the CPUC issued a cease-and-desist letter to Uber, Lyft, and SideCar) and fined each $20,000.[195] However, an interim agreement was reached in 2013 reversing those actions.[196]

In June 2013, Lyft, Uber and Sidecar were served with cease and desist letters by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.[197]

In September 2013, the CPUC unanimously voted to make the agreement permanent, creating a new category of service called transportation network company to cover Lyft, UberX, SideCar, and Summon, thereby making California the first jurisdiction to recognize such services.[198][199]

On September 17, 2014, California's Governor approved the "Assembly Bill No. 2293" bill that became effective on July 1, 2015. The bill amended "the Passenger Charter-party Carriers’ Act to enact specified requirements for liability insurance coverage for transportation network companies, as defined, and their participating drivers." The driver under the law is defined as "any person who uses a vehicle in connection with a transportation network company’s online-enabled application or platform to connect with passengers." The stated minimum insurance requirement ranges from US$50,000 to $100,000 for death and injuries per individual or incident, and stipulates US$30,000 for property damage. As a breach of the bill is classified as a criminal act, a corresponding "state-mandated local program" will be implemented.[200]

In April 2016, a case that was originally filed on December 9, 2014, by the district attorneys of both Los Angeles, California, and San Francisco was resolved. Prosecutors claimed that Uber made misleading statements about the background checks it performs on drivers and falsely charged a "safe ride fee." The case was resolved when Uber agreed to no longer claim to be the "safest ride on the road", change the name of the "safe ride fee" to "booking fee", and pay $10 million.[201] San Francisco's city attorneys had previously settled out of court with Lyft over similar allegations.[202]

On December 14, 2016, the California Department of Motor Vehicles demanded that Uber cease its autonomous car program in San Francisco or obtain a licence, threatening legal action.[203][204] Following the invitation of tech enthusiast and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Uber decided to move its fleet to Phoenix, Arizona.[205]


In June 2014, Colorado became the first state to pass rules for TNCs through the legislative process, when S 125 was signed into law.[206]


In September 2014, a class-action lawsuit was filed by taxicab drivers and holders of a vehicle for hire Certificate of public convenience and necessity in Atlanta against Uber as well as its drivers for restitution of all metered fares collected via the Uber and UberX apps for trips originating within the Atlanta city limits.[207] The lawsuit claimed that Uber drivers were not properly licensed.[207]


On October 5, 2012, Uber was sued by the taxi and livery companies in Chicago. Uber was accused of violating Chicago city laws and Illinois state laws designed to protect public safety, consumer protection, and fair practices.[208] Regulations affecting TNCs were approved in December 2014.[209]


On August 1, 2012, the Massachusetts Division of Standards issued a cease-and-desist letter to Uber on the grounds that the GPS-based smartphone app was not a certified measurement device, but on August 15, the agency reversed its ruling after prodding by Governor Deval Patrick, saying that technique was satisfactory because it was under study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.[210]

The legislature passed a law formally legalizing and regulating transportation network companies in July 2016.[211] The law requires background checks, vehicle decals and inspections, insurance, state certification of drivers; prohibits increased fares during a declared emergency or for passengers with disabilities; requires drivers to be 21 or older; and sets up a complaint process and commission to review the economics of the whole ride-for-hire industry. Unlike taxis, TNC vehicles are prohibited from "cruising" for passengers on streets. The law also establishes a $0.20 per-ride charge, which is distributed to cities and towns for transportation and ride-for-hire economic development purposes.


In December 2016, Michigan instituted regulations on TNCs.[212]


In July 2014, the Minneapolis City Council voted almost unanimously to legalize TNCs.[213]


On November 25, 2014, Washoe County, Nevada District Court Judge Scott Freeman, issued a preliminary injunction preventing Uber from operating statewide. The temporary injunction was based on the company's failure to file a certificate of public convenience and necessity, which is required for every transportation service in Nevada to conform with state regulations. The Government of Nevada also claimed that Uber's screening process was not rigorous enough to protect consumers, and failed to conform with the aforementioned regulations. Uber contested the ruling, arguing that it is an app-based technology company rather than a transportation company, but the company's management made the decision to temporarily shut down its Nevada operations.[214] Nevada legalized TNCs in May 2015.[215]

New Hampshire

Legislation passed in 2016 in New Hampshire requires each TNC (not each driver) to pay an annual fee of $500. It also includes requirements that each TNC get a permit from the state, obtain a driver history report on each driver that meets the provisions of the law, and require their drivers to have liability insurance.[216]

New York

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission has discouraged drivers from participating in Uber, and UberX was suspended in the city in October 2012. Uber's premium sedan service was not affected.[217] TNCs were legalized statewide in June 2016.[218]

In recent development, that was initiated by a class action lawsuit filed by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) in federal court in New York in June 2016, Uber has now admitted to underpaying New York City drivers tens of millions of dollars. The practice was in place for two-and-a-half years. In reaction to this, the executive director of the NYTWA called Uber's move "an attempt by Uber to pull a fast one to avoid court oversight and shortchange drivers in the process.”[219]

North Carolina

In September 2015, Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law Senate Bill 541 [NC Session Law 2015-237], "AN ACT TO REGULATE TRANSPORTATION NETWORK COMPANIES", which amends Chapter 20 of the North Carolina General Statutes to establish statewide regulation of TNCs operating within North Carolina. It also forbids the establishment by county and municipal governments of additional regulations [e.g. fees, licenses, etc.] upon TNCs their associated drivers operating within North Carolina.[220]


On December 8, 2014, Portland, Oregon sued Uber, claiming that Uber violates the city's Private for Hire Transportation Regulations and Administrative Rules. The court was asked to stop Uber from operating in Portland.[221] Uber suspended its operations in the city for three months, pending planned changes to local regulations.[222]


In January 2015, the enforcement bureau of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) announced that it would subpoena Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to appear at a February meeting of the PUC, to provide information asked of Kalanick for some months before regarding trips that Uber soperated while under a cease-and-desist order issued by an administrative law judge panel over the previous summer. In past actions, the PUC had cited TNC drivers for providing service illegally in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. They also said that they would be raising the proposed penalties from $95,000 and $1,000 per day of operation without authority, to $19 million and $1,000 per day from October 3, 2014, until Uber provides the data the PUC requested.[223]

Pittsburgh has fully embraced TNCs to the point that Uber uses Pittsburgh as a testing ground for autonomous cars in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University and later reached an agreement to allow drivers to pick up riders at Pittsburgh International Airport.[224][225]

In December 2014, Checker Cab Philadelphia and 44 other taxi companies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, filed a lawsuit alleging that Uber was operating illegally in the city.[226][227] On March 3, 2015, U.S. District Judge Nitza I. Quinones Alejandro denied a motion for a preliminary injunction against Uber.[228]

In January 2016, a $1.5M lawsuit was filed against Uber in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Sergei Lemberg on behalf of a Philadelphia taxicab medallion owners. The suit claimed that Uber engaged in tortious interference with a prospective business advantage and engaged in false advertising under the Lanham Act.[229] The case was dismissed in August 2016.[229]

Philadelphia finally legalized TNCs in November 2016.[230]


In March 2015, UberPOOL was offered in Austin, Texas in advance of the annual South by Southwest festival.[231]

On May 7, 2016, Uber and Lyft announced they would no longer provide service in the city of Austin, Texas after city voters rejected a referendum backed by the two companies that would have repealed a city ordinance requiring their drivers to submit to fingerprint-based background checks.[232]

In late 2016, Uber threatened to leave Houston ahead of the Super Bowl LI festivities, insisting various city regulations, including fingerprint background checks of drivers, were too burdensome and prevented drivers from working. Houston officials and Uber reached a compromise in December 2016, whereby Houston would continue to require a fingerprint check for drivers but eliminate requirements for driver drug testing and physicals through at least February 5, 2017.[233][234]


Regulations affecting TNCs were implemented in December 2014.[235]


On June 5, 2014, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles issued a cease-and-desist letter to both Uber and Lyft, demanding they halt operations within Virginia.[236] Since mid-2015, regulations have been implemented governing transportation network companies and associated partner drivers within the Commonwealth of Virginia.[237][238]


The Seattle City Council passed an ordinance in March 2014 that capped the number of drivers from any TNC on the road at any given time to 150.[239] City Council Member Kshama Sawant argued in favor of the caps as a means to protect traditional taxi drivers.[240] However, on April 17, 2014, the council's ordinance was suspended by a coalition that obtained 36,000 signatures to put the question to voters in a referendum. As a result, Mayor Ed Murray announced a 45-day negotiation process to find an alternative approach.[241] Uber donated over $613,000 to "Seattle Citizens to Repeal Ordinance 124441", a political group seeking to overturn the ordinance limiting the number of TNC vehicles in Seattle.[242] Seattle Mayor Ed Murray worked with the TNCs to reach a deal to legalize them[clarification needed] in July 2014.

Washington, D.C.

In January 2012, an Uber driver's cab was impounded as part of a sting by the Washington, D.C. taxicab commission. The commissioner said the company was operating an unlicensed taxicab service in the city.[243] Following a social media campaign by Uber riders, the D.C. city council voted in July 2012 to formally legalize TNCs, which led to protests by taxicab drivers.[244] The Washington, D.C. City Council passed emergency legislation in September 2013 to allow TNCs to operate.[245]


On 30 March 2017, taxi drivers protested against Uber and Yandex.taxi.[246]

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Further reading

  • E McGaughey, 'Uber Fraud, Mutuality and the Taylor Review' (2017) Industrial Law Journal
  • B Rogers, ‘The Social Costs of Uber’ (2015) 82 University of Chicago Law Review Dialogue 85