The Grand-Duchy is one of the last European countries in which UBER does not offer its services. It will however probably not be the case for much longer. Representatives of the company already approached the Luxembourg Minister of Sustainable Development and Infrastructures. The latter indicated in a parliamentary response (2437) that the Luxembourg legislation may, under certain conditions, enable the offer of some UBER services.

"UBER X"

UBER X connects, via a mobile application, clients wishing to travel by car with professional drivers. The Minister considered that such a service must be compliant with Article 56bis of the Traffic Code. Pursuant to this provision a car can only be rented to a client with a driver if such a rent is reflected in a written agreement which is signed prior to the rent and mentions that the journey duration is longer than one hour.

These conditions seem hardly compatible with the UBER X services which are in principle ordered via the UBER-app without any minimum duration requirement. It should be noted that these conditions have been inserted in the Traffic Code in July 2015 by way of a Grand-Duchy Regulation, probably in order to avoid the legal uncertainty our neighboring countries are faced with. Therefore, the development of UBER X services seems, prima facie, hampered by the Luxembourg Traffic Code.

“UBER Taxi”

UBER Taxi consists of what we currently know in Luxembourg as “traditional taxi services”. In this context, UBER would have to comply with the provisions of the Law of 5 July 2016 on the organization of taxi services (which unfortunately did not take into account new innovative services such as those of UBER). Either the taxi company or the drivers themselves, depending on whether the car is owned by the first or the second one, have to request a taxi license. To obtain such license, the applicant should in particular justify that he/she has a business license. Once obtained, the applicant then has to sign up to a waiting list on which he/she will stay until a notice of vacancy is published in the Mémorial B. Such process can thus take a while and is caused by the fact that the number of taxi licenses in the Grand-Duchy is strictly limited. It must indeed not exceed 1,5 taxi per 1000 inhabitants; in the center of the country for instance the number of taxi licenses is limited to 290.

This more “traditional” UBER service may be implemented in Luxembourg, yet such implementation will take time.

“UBER POP”

UBER POP is a service offered by an occasional and unprofessional driver driving his personal vehicle. The Minister considers that this service, which is forbidden in several countries, will unlikely be allowed in Luxembourg. Indeed, the Luxembourg taxi regulation as well as the Traffic Code provide strict rules in order to protect users and to establish security standards. UBER POP service does not seem to offer enough warranties in this regard and thus most likely has no future in the Grand-Duchy.

Other concerns

Finally, the Minister of Sustainable Development and Infrastructures pointed out that the UBER services should be compliant with employment, social security and tax regulations. The compliance of UBER services with these regulations was, and does still currently, form the object of debate in other jurisdictions. The statute of UBER drivers as being self-employed has for instance been challenged by a British first instance court last month (appeal is, however, pending).