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Uber taxis to be “legal” by the end of the summer

After all the protests by licensed taxi drivers, digital transport platform Uber – the service that is rapidly taking the developed world by storm – is set to be legalised in Portugal “by the end of the summer”.

A working group created by the government has considered that the Uber has every bit as much right to operate in the taxi sector as traditional cabs and their drivers.

The next step is to create new ‘rules’ to allow unmarked vehicles to be used in the transport of passengers, as well as a special regime for digital platforms.

According to Público, the regulations will make Portugal “a European pioneer” in the sector.

Said secretary of state for the environment José Mendes: “The paperwork should all be concluded by the end of the summer”.

Traditional taxi drivers will be pleased to see that the new rules involve Uber drivers being licensed – though technically this means, Uber is still operating ‘illegally’ until the new rules are adopted.

Mendes explains that the way ahead “marks the end of a cycle of intensive listening”, involving the mobility authority AMT, the international federation of transports, consumer watchdog DECO, transport and taxi sector unions, public authorities and even ANA, the national airports authority.

“The role of the taxi will not be reduced, and will continue to be very important within the transport ecosystem”, stressed Mendes, particularly because traditional taxis will remain the only ones allowed to be hired on-spec in the street or park and wait for fares in public squares.

“But we had to give space to services that have been very well accepted (by the public) and are sought after”, he added.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com