Brussels, (Brussels Morning)- On Tuesday, the Brussels Parliament started discussing the long-awaited taxi plan of Prime Minister Rudi Vervoort as reported by BRUZZ. In the new Brussels taxi landscape, the concept of rental of vehicles with a driver (VVC) is disappearing and there is a unified statute for drivers. But for opposition parties MR and N-VA, the VVC drivers (Uber drivers) are heavily discriminated against.
The new taxi ordinance retains the numerus clausus for the number of taxi vehicles, the quality requirements for the service and the regulated rates.
From now on, there are three categories of taxi vehicles: the stand taxis (the current taxi vehicles), the street taxis (the former VVCs) and the ceremonial taxis (for events and reserved for a minimum of 3 hours).
The last two categories must offer their services on the basis of prior reservation and are not eligible for certain privileges such as use of reserved seats or private lanes.
The operating licences are valid for seven years (renewable). The status of drivers is unified, as regards access to the profession, training and conditions of employment, as well as the certificate of competence.
In addition, there will be a framework for the reservation intermediaries (the platforms), who must be recognized in order to be able to offer their services to the operators and to the taxi users.
The ordinance also tries to control competition from the other regions. Due to the lack of a cooperation agreement with Flanders and Wallonia, the Region’s room for manoeuvre is limited.
Taxi lobby wins a blow
For the opposition parties MR and N-VA, the draft ordinance comes much too late and means no progress for mobility and for customers. David Weytsman (MR) discovered no less than 15 discriminations between the historic VVC drivers and the classic taxi drivers.
“The taxi lobby has won it: they can resell a permit for 35,000 euros and can automatically switch to the new permit, while the former VVC drivers are not sure to obtain a permit given the numerus clausus,” said Cieltje Van Achter. (N-VA), for whom Brussels residents are the victims of this taxi plan