Uber Smartphones Are Not Taximeters, Court Rules

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 31 months ago
Uber Smartphones Are Not Taximeters, Court Rules
Photo by Alexander Baxevanis in the Londonist Flickr pool

Smartphones used by some Uber drivers to harness GPS technology for the calculation of fares do not classify as taximeters, the High Court has ruled.

Mr Justice Ouseley declares that while the smartphone with the driver’s app may be essential to enabling the calculation of fares to take place, that did not make it a device specifically for calculating fares. Cabbies have long argued that the use of GPS to calculate a fare makes it a meter, which would be illegal in London. They are hoping to curtail Uber's activities in the city through this argument.

The judge also found that it was drivers, not their vehicles, who are “equipped” with smartphones.

Uber will be cock-a-hoop about the decision, while TfL says it has always believed that the smartphones did not constitute meters.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA), on the other hand, is apoplectic, tweeting:

The LTDA says it will now take the case to the Supreme Court.

TfL says the number of private hire drivers has risen from around 59,000 in 2009/10 to over 89,000 now. Within two years that figure could rise to 128,000. Dark days indeed for the black cab.

Last Updated 16 October 2015


Sooner or later cabbies need to realise that Uber is here for the long run.

Cabbies need to start competing more effectively. Instead of claiming that Uber drivers are all "illegal immigrants who're going to murder you," start telling people why black cabs are worth paying the premium for.

It's actually a very simple proposition - want to get somewhere as fast as possible? Use a black cab - they can use bus lanes and know all the back routes around town.

And actually start offering a consistent service that matches the premium prices paid - and this includes accepting credit cards.

George Redgrave

I asked a cab driver in New York to take me to the Witney Museum of American Art ... he didn't know where it was; those are the sort of drivers we will find in London in the future.