Thank you @dan1980, your explanation and analysis of this is spot on.
One thing I would note though is where authorities try to adjust the law/regulations to cover operators like Uber (e.g. Uber wins right to challenge driver English tests), Uber fight them tooth and nail presumably in a bid to maintain the status quo where they operate as they please with disregard for the law/regulations.
If Uber really is simple ride sharing (catching a lift with someone already going that way) the concept of surge pricing would be non-existent. As I understand law/regulations/insurance requirements in England, it's fine for a driver to car share (there are officially backed initiatives to encourage it!) as long as they accept only a reasonable contribution towards fuel. Charging more than that means it becomes a Taxi and thus it should adhere to the regulations that apply to Taxis.
I'm half expecting someone to declare Apple's approach to taxation as "Disruptive".