Uber “legalised” as taxi drivers maintain “rights and duties”

The working party set up to “legalise Uber” and other so-called ‘digital transport platforms’ released its proposals today (Monday).~

According to Diário de Notícias, the ‘projecto de diploma’ will get a 10-day discussion period, after which the new rules should be taken on board.

If all goes according to plan, Uber, Cabify, and indeed any other smartphone-powered operations should be completely legal by November.

Says the paper, this will make Portugal something of a pioneer. Elsewhere, some countries have actually banned digital transport platforms altogether (Hungary, Thailand, certain states of America), while others have introduced partial bans (France, Germany).

Portugal’s willingness to “alter the rules of the game” is not delighting traditional cabbies however, who have further protests planned (October 10).

“The government wants to alter the rules of the game to accommodate another kind of transporter,” Carlos Ramos of the Portuguese federation of cab drivers (FPT) explained. Yet taxi drivers are still “obliged to comply with the rules of the game”, he said.

ANTRAL, the association of light vehicle transporters, went further, issuing a statement to say that it means to put in a legal claim for over €6 million in damages, for the amount of business already lost to Uber.

But as controversy shows no sign of waning, DN outlines the gist of the working group’s recommendations.

Uber and other companies operating the same way will not, for example, get the same tax breaks as traditional taxi companies (deemed as operating within the public interest).

They will have to issue electronic receipts, as opposed to paper ones issued by taxi drivers – they will not be allowed to use bus lanes, or taxi spaces in public squares, and they will be restricted to apps as a means of attracting business.

The objective of the new law, says DN, is to give customers freedom of choice.

The working group set up by the government is aware of Uber and Cabify’s popularity, and it has already opened the business up to traditional cabbies by allowing them the possibility of running a service in unmarked cars, as already happens with apps like Mytaxi, says the paper.

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