Parliamentary Committee Brings Uber, Lyft & Others Closer to Slovenia

By , 05 May 2021, 11:56 AM Business
Parliamentary Committee Brings Uber, Lyft & Others Closer to Slovenia Wikimedia, CC-by-0

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STA, 5 May 2021 - The parliamentary Infrastructure Committee has endorsed amendments to the act on road transport that create the legal basis for transportation platforms such as Uber or Lyft, changes that the government argues will facilitate the digitalisation of the transport sector.

The proposal sets down that drivers using digital platforms would need to get a licence, just like regular taxi drivers, whereas taximeters would no longer be mandatory for taxi drivers, who would be allowed to use software solutions.

Municipalities would have a say in setting the rules since they would be able to determine the quality standard, including the type of vehicle.

The amendments also include certain provisions making public transport more attractive to users and simplifying procedures for obtaining transit cards for professional athletes.

The committee debate late on Tuesday saw the opposition criticising the legislation, arguing that it is a result of lobbying that will pave the way for increased precarisation of drivers without addressing persistent violations of labour standards in the sector.

Coalition MPs argued the legislation did not interfere with existing labour relations but would modernise the sector, improve the quality of service for users, and break up the quasi-monopoly position of certain taxi companies on the market.

Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec stressed that all drivers will be licenced. The goal is to improve mobility facilitate the development of modern, digital services.

The legislation has been strongly criticised by taxi drivers, who have staged protests against opening the doors wide to a business model that they say is based on social dumping. They delivered the same message to MPs yesterday.

But some coalition MPs, including New Slovenia (NSi) deputy Tadeja Šuštar, who worked as a taxi driver for a year, noted that it was in fact the current system that facilitated labour abuses and dumping.

Slovenian tech companies have come out in support of the legislation as well.

The Slovenian Automotive Cluster and six digital mobility companies said in a public letter in support of the legislation that the solutions will drive progress.

Mobility is increasingly intertwined with digital technology and the amendments will make it possible to create new, user-centric business models, they said.

Similarly, Slovenia's Digital Champion Marko Grobelnik told MPs a green breakthrough could only be achieved with the changes given the limits of the existing legislation.

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