A left majority in French parliament, after a long and arduous battle that lasted from Spring this year, has voted for a two-tier taxi/private hire system. The private hire part is made up of the previously rather weakly regulated VTC: ‘Voitures de tourisme avec chauffeur’. In the old situation these VTC, because of their weak rules, were the ideal allies of app companies like Uber. The new legislation eventually turned out more positive for the taxi industry than previously expected.
In the new situation VTC’s will be regulated on a national level. Drivers must pass a test, be fully insured and prove they have a viable business. VTC’s prices – like those of limousines in other countries – must be fixed in advance. Like private hire in other countries, VTC must return to their base (or go to a private parking) before accepting a new job. This makes VTC less attractive as partner of apps, although policing this aspect of the new law will be a nightmare. It seems that VTC are interesting for companies like Veolia/Transdev, who has transplanted the model of its environmentally friendly service Green Tomato Cars from London to Paris.
In the taxi sector Paris drivers can obtain new taxi licenses. These licenses are personal and cannot be sold and thus represent no investment in the taxi industry. Taxis will be obliged to accept creditcard payments.
• The June 11 demonstrations were very much directed against VTC, Uber and new VTC-friendly legislation.