The European Commission’s Guidance on regulating taxis and private hire vehicles confirms the importance of regulation at the local level but fails to promote fair and clean mobility.
IRU welcomes the European Commission’s recognition that the rules governing taxis and private hire vehicles (PHV) are matters for national, regional or local competent authorities as they are closest to customers.
The emergence of online platforms has highlighted international and European Union (EU) aspects of passenger transport on demand. Yet, the existing local, national and regional regulatory frameworks are the most appropriate levels to ensure the proper functioning of the market from a performance and competitive perspective.
IRU also supports the view shared in the guidance that regulatory frameworks should provide fair opportunities for all market players, existing and new, as well as fair competition between market players. In this respect, the efforts to bring clarity are admirable.
Regrettably, however, the guidance does not support the much needed level playing field between taxis and PHV. Whilst the obligations of the two segments are often distinct at the national level, this is not recognised as such at the European level. This perpetuates the risk of unfair competition.
The guidance should have focussed, as a minimum, on ensuring that all businesses in transport and mobility compete fairly in an innovative, socially acceptable and environmentally-friendly manner, said Raluca Marian, IRU EU Advocacy Director.
Indeed, the guidance should have clearly called for companies to fairly compete online, just as they do offline, based on the principle “same service, same rules”. Especially, the guidance further could have clarified that the regulatory framework for taxi, hire-cars with driver and ridesharing service providers must cover on a non-discriminatory basis aspects such as licensing, registration, manager’s and driver’s good repute, training and exams, insurance, vehicle safety, social conditions and taxation across the EU.
Furthermore, the guidance should have recognised that the most effective way to reduce empty runs and to protect the climate is not the implementation of further waiting locations or the repeal of the return to garage rule for PHVs.
Rather, the only sustainable solution is to shift passengers to collective means of transport, including public transport and taxis. “Instead of trying to influence well-functioning local passenger transport markets in EU Member States, the goal of the EU should be to encourage Member States to support the shift to collective means of transport and the greening of existing fleets with a high percentage of miles travelled per year”, added Raluca Marian.
IRU will monitor the effect of this guidance at the level of Member States on the taxi and private hire vehicle segments over the coming months, and will explore improvements with the European Commission.