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Uber begins battle to clear its name at Brussels appeal court

12:53 11/09/2020

A trial between American ride-booking platform Uber and the Belgian Taxi Federation (FeBet) is starting this Friday at Brussels appeals court. Further hearings will continue on 18 and 25 September and 2 October.

The big question is if Uber, which FeBet sees as unfairly and illegally taking over Brussels’ taxi market, is seen as a transportation provider or a taxi company.

FeBet had appealed against a ruling stating that UberX, which connects passengers with limousine drivers holding an LVC licence (private car rental with a driver), complies with the Brussels legal framework.

It says that giving taxi licences directly to drivers rather than cab firms will cripple taxi firms in Brussels. Uber meanwhile defends giving licences to drivers as a way to “improve mobility in Brussels”, and help ease traffic jams.

But on 16 January 2019, the capital’s Francophone commercial court rejected all actions against Uber and confirmed that its UberX service complied with the Brussels legislation on the paid transport of people.

The court also ruled in January 2019 that drivers holding an LVC licence that use the UberX application could not be seen as employees of the American company.

The judge held that Uber does not provide transport per se and so the Uber app cannot be considered as a taxi service. But FeBet disagreed and appealed, leading to this week’s controversial court action.

Written by Liz Newmark