In view of the evaluation of the taxi-element in the Dutch law governing Passenger Transport (Wp2000), Henk Kamp, Secretary of Economic Affairs, recently hinted at a review of the rules that apply to apps, in particular Uber. The evaluation is due this Autumn and the Secretary was reacting to parliamentary questions regarding the ban on UberPOP-services in Brussels and Berlin, in May.
Kamp recognises that innovation and innovative companies are important for the competitiveness of the Dutch economy. Keeping in mind that other societal interests must also be observed, the present legislation should offer enough space for these innovations to grow. Where present legislation forms an obstacle for the development of innovative services, other steps must be taken. At the moment, the examples mentioned in the parliamentary questions (Uber and AirBnb), can operate within the existing legal frameworks.
According to the Secretary, Uber is a mediator, not a taxi service as defined by the Act of 2000 (Wp2000). Even where the law sets an existing framework for the relationship between the taxi driver and consumers, there is enough flexibility in the present rules.These include: the use of a taximeter, a trip computer, a mandatory receipt and maximum rates. As consumers can also pre-arrange a fare instead of a fare based on rates from the taximeter with the taxi driver and municipalities can complement the basic requirements with additional local standards, the law is flexible enough for operators like Uber. If any obstacles remain, Kamp wrote, the government is willing, whilst keeping an eye on the interests of other parties, to re-evaluate certain legal requirements.
At has become the norm with Uber’s confusing mixed brands-policy, at no point in this discussion a definition of ‘acceptable’ Uber-services was given. As UberPOP is not operating in The Netherlands, it is unclear whether Kamp included this shared-service in his reply. Kamp’s reply (in Dutch):