At the beginning of November, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) sent a revised draft bill for the “modernization of passenger transport law” to associations and other stakeholders. In principle, it wants to enable “needs-based brokering of driving services”, “which can be offered to several people with different destinations independently of route specifications through intelligent bundling.”
Compared to the first draft from September, Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) is accommodating with the new, heise online draft of the taxi guild. Basically, he wants to further subdivide the area of ”shared use” (ride pooling) into a new form of regular transport within public transport, such as the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) is trying out with the Berlkönig, and into “bundled on-demand transport” outside the public sector Providers like CleverShuttle or Moia.
Ride pooling via app for taxis
With the earlier draft, collective trips should only be allowed to these new forms of transport. There is no longer any question of that. Rather, taxis are also allowed to rent individual seats along a tariff corridor with minimum and maximum prices. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has deleted the clause that a licensing authority should prohibit this. According to the new approach, taxis can do ride pooling via app and benefit from sales tax privileges compared to rental cars. Existing taxi permits could in principle even be sufficient to provide public transport services.
Transport service providers such as Uber and Free Now should also in principle continue to have to return to the company headquarters after every trip. Unlike taxis, you are not allowed to wait on the street for new customers. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has partially taken up criticism from the taxi industry that the obligation to return could be diluted by additional “parking locations” in individual municipalities with their plazet: it now stipulates a minimum distance of 15 kilometers between headquarters and alternative locations for rental cars in the revised Paragraph 49 Passenger Transport Act .
Taxi industry not entirely satisfied
The specialist service “Taxi Times” sees the cow from the ice for the time being and speaks of a “U-turn”so that the traditional transport service providers still have more than just “the business with the traffic lights on the street”. In the case of the obligation to return, the approval authorities would have sufficient leeway to “put aggressively acting poolers or rental car companies in their place”. Despite the downsides that remained, “many of the focal points of this legal reform seem to have dissolved in favor of the taxi industry.”
The Federal Association of Taxi and Rental Cars is not yet satisfied. He holds the taxi and with it the mobility provision of the people still for “imminent threat, while platforms can conquer the German market free of responsibility for social standards and consumer protection. “Therefore, a separate” approval for brokerage services “is necessary. Taxi pooling must be permitted” legally secure “and a” tariff fixed price option “must be maintained.
Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) fears a significantly increased administrative burden due to the fragmented regulatory system with which the municipalities would be left alone to handle global transport providers. According to him, taxis and rental cars should no longer be treated differently.
More regulations, no relief
The Federal Association of the Digital Economy (BVDW) accuses the federal government of “lacking will to reform”. The project remains “far behind the requirements for a future-oriented mobility transition”. Instead of implementing the “regulatory relief” for taxis and rental cars agreed in the coalition agreement, new reporting and approval requirements and additional price regulation in the rental car sector would now be introduced.
“Private-sector mobility offers will continue to be structurally disadvantaged compared to municipal providers and the taxi industry – at the expense of the environment and consumers”, gives the BVDW to consider in its statement. Current traffic problems such as incomplete individual mobility, environmental pollution, traffic jams and parking space bottlenecks could not be overcome in this way. Forced empty trips for rental car providers should be abolished “.
The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has “missed the opportunity to develop mobility consistently digitally and in a climate-friendly manner and to part with outdated, historical regulations that make innovations difficult or impossible,” criticized the President of the Bitkom IT association, Achim Berg. Municipalities could even extend the obligation to return to ride pooling providers so that their vehicles would also have to return to the company headquarters. The ecologically oriented transport association VCD demands that the federal government create generally clearly defined minimum levels for climate, environmental and social standards.
To make a trip with different modes of transport as easy and comfortable as possible, leads according to the Federal Association of Consumer Centers (vzbv) there is no way around “comprehensive digital networking on central platforms”. The formation of a monopoly or watered-down data protection would have to be prevented. Approval authorities should substantiate “that regulations are necessary from a traffic or urban planning perspective”. Different ride pooling providers should not be treated unequally. The planned obligation to provide open mobility data is correct.