The plans drawn up for the entire private transport sector (taxis and Uber) in Brussels by Minister of Mobility Pascal Smet will make four changes to the existing situation:
– Every operator will be driving under the same terms and conditions in terms of training, vehicle, rates and insurance. In other words, the distinction that exists between the taxi sector and the limousine sector will disappear. All vehicles will be licensed as taxis.
– Every driver will receive a personal license. The number of licences remains limited to avoid the city being flooded by new cars and ensuring a proper income for all drivers. The system whereby licenses are accumulated and sold “in the black” is banned. Operators who have more than one licence will not be able to renew it after the expiration of the current term. They will be assisted during the transition phase and, upon termination, will be entitled to compensation.
– Platforms like Uber are now regulated. They will only be able to work with licensed drivers and must keep records of all affiliated drivers and cars as well as all trips made. In addition, they may not impose exclusivity rules on drivers and must fix rates and charges.
– Fares can be set more freely. For the street market (taking a taxi from a rank) a fixed rate applies today. For journeys booked by phone or app, a different rate applies, which must be above a minimum so that there is no dumping.
“With this reform we put a structure in place which is beneficial to the customer and the driver and we add strict rules to the platforms. The reform must ensure that services improve and that the taxi is a full complement to public transport in Brussels,” said Smet. The new framework is currently being discussed with the taxi sector, with the intention of submitting a preliminary draft to the Brussels government in May.
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