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Uber alles

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Uber alles

Postby dls » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:28 pm

A delightful film on the BBC welcomed (or not) the failure of the challenge to the legality of the Uber taxi system.

The film showed a black cab taxi driver saying (quite properly) that all they wanted was that they should be regulated to the same level.

It was perhaps unfortunate to see that he seemed perfectly happy to drive along waving both hands in the air at the same time on at least two occasions within a minute..
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Re: Uber alles

Postby dls » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:21 pm

Transport for London -v- Uber London Ltd; Admn 16 Oct 2015
References: [2015] EWHC 2918 (Admin)
Links: Bailii
Coram: Ouseley J
TFL sought a declaration as to the legality of the Uber taxi system. Otherwise unlicensed drivers took fares with fees calculated by means of a smartphone app. The Licensed Taxi drivers said that the app operated as a meter and therefore required licensing.
Held: The system was not unlawful. The fare was calculated by a system external to the smarthone, and therefore the phone was not itself a meter: 'A device for recording time and distance is not a device for calculating a fare based on time and distance, let alone one based on more than that, including the fare structure itself, a necessary component to the calculation. The language of the statute is quite clear. The essence of a taximeter for the purpose of section 11 is that the device must be for the calculation of the fare then to be charged, based on whatever inputs are appropriate. Such a device is not simply recording and transmitting some or all of the inputs to a calculation made elsewhere, or receiving the output, that is the calculated fare. The Smartphone is not a 'thing designed or adapted for a particular functional purpose' namely calculating fares for the PHV; see the Shorter OED. It is not a taximeter. The Smartphone with its Driver's App may be essential to enabling the calculation to take place but that does not make it a device for calculating fares. Nor does that warrant treating the Smartphone as part of a single device with Server 2; it simply is not.'
Statutes: Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 11
This case cites: (This list may be incomplete)
Last Update: 16-Oct-15 Ref: 553501
Road Traffic, Licensing, News

See also: http://www.swarb.co.uk/transport-for-lo ... 6-Oct-2015
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Re: Uber alles

Postby diy » Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:57 am

I wonder how IT savvy the judge was on this.

In a world of cloud services, determining the location of the calculation engine as being the key factor and the specialist design of the computer is wrong. Any 1st year computer science student can illustrate the challenges of distributed systems.

I could probably argue that the computer in a taxi meter was not designed for the purpose of being a taxi meter. Its probably powered by a mobile phone, washing machine or game console chip
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Re: Uber alles

Postby atticus » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:27 pm

Here's the judgment for you to read. https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content ... oved-2.pdf

You may find the discussion of the argument and of the judge's reasoning of interest.
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Re: Uber alles

Postby dls » Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:42 pm

I wonder how IT savvy the judge was on this.


He seems perfectly able.

The problem for the licensed taxis lies not in the judges analysis of the computer systems involved but rather in the age and expectations of the legislation at issue.
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Re: Uber alles

Postby diy » Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:36 pm

So a client/server taxi meter isn't a taximeter. A smart phone or laptop could be though, but if the desktop is virtualised it isn't .

personally I like the idea of Uber, the idea of empty taxi's driving around looking for fares seems a bit dated and not ideal from a congestion a pollution point of view. It would be nice to see the idea extended to buses where the bus driver would pick up and route according to demand.
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Re: Uber alles

Postby atticus » Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:41 pm

I think that has been tried in one or two rural areas.
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