On Thursday, the Government had consultations with the representatives of the Romanian Confederation of Licensed Operators and Transporters (COTAR), following the protest staged by transporters, and decided to issue a Government emergency ordinance (GEO) meant to eliminate “piracy” in the taxi industry.
The consultations, which involved Government Secretary-General Toni Grebla, the representatives of the Transport Ministry, and those of the transporters, took place at the Government headquarters. Following the talks, it was decided to amend the taxi industry law to “eliminate piracy in road passenger transport.”
“The talks concerned the measures needed to fight piracy in the road passenger transport sector and to regulate some road passenger transport activities. During the consultations, it was agreed to include several proposals made by road transport employers in the draft emergency ordinance on introducing certain measures in the field of road transport and amending Law no.38/2003 on the taxi industry, drafted by the Regional Development and the Transport Ministry. One of these proposals concerns the elimination of the term “repeatedly” which appears in the taxi industry law; an amendment meant to contribute to the elimination of “piracy” in road passenger transport. Likewise, it was agreed to transfer the rent-a-car activity to the Romanian Road Authority, and to extend the inter-county road passenger programme,” the Government informed in a communique issued on Thursday.
Likewise, the Government informs that “the talks followed Wednesday’s meeting with the representatives of the Federation of Romanian Transport Operators (FORT), in which Transport Minister Razvan Cuc also took part, the Romanian Government thus reaffirming its openness to having constructive dialogue with all the factors involved, so that the legislation would offer all the levers needed to fight piracy in the field of road passenger transport, as well as safe transport services of quality.”
According to the communique, the draft Government emergency ordinance introducing certain measures in the field of road transport was published for public consultation on March 1, on the websites of the two ministries, and is currently in the inter-ministerial circuit, set to be approved during the next Government meeting.
The consultations took place following the protest that transporters staged in Victory Square, where several hundreds vehicles were brought.
Transporters from Cluj, Arad, Timisoara, Iasi, Bacau, Constanta, and Dolj took part in the protest because piracy is the country’s problem, not Bucharest’s problem, COTAR President Vasile Stefanescu stated.
“We demand sanctions against this unauthorised, unlicensed activity. You can’t take your car and use it for passenger transport. Otherwise, abrogate all transport laws and we too will do the same thing. But it’s not possible for us to observe the laws while others do not. And parliamentarians should demand a mobility study, an advisability study, and if it turns out that the market’s demand for taxis is higher than it is now [sic], we can hike the coefficient from 4 per thousand to 5-6 [taxis] per thousand people. Tomorrow anyone could open a notary public office or a medical office without having the necessary documents, without being a physician or a notary public. Minister Cuc has said that the tabled ordinance will be issued next week. Uber should not engage in lobbying among our parliamentarians, for them to table a law tailored for them specifically. All entities should observe Romanian law. If the ordinance is not issued next week either, we will come from all over the country in very large numbers,” Stefanescu stated.
Uber continues to demand the postponing of the GEO amending taxi industry law
Uber maintains the position it expressed two weeks ago in what concerns the draft GEO amending the taxi industry law, a GEO that could lead to a limitation in or the disappearance of alternative urban transport services, company sources have stated for Mediafax.
Uber and Taxify asked the Government, early this month, to postpone the draft GEO amending the taxi industry law, a GEO that could lead to a limitation in or the disappearance of alternative urban transport services.
“We appreciate the Government’s openness to dialogue, and we assure them of our full cooperation in modernising the transport legislation, in line with the recommendations of the European Commission, according to which these new services must be regulated, not banned.
“Until Romania too has a regulatory framework for the new alternative transport services, a framework similar to that in other EU member states, we are asking the members of Government, on behalf of the more than 2 million users and of the tens of thousands of drivers who are using our platforms to earn a living, to postpone a potential Emergency Ordinance,” the communique reads.
Uber and Taxify state that more than 2 million Romanians use their services or other similar applications. “According to an IRES survey, 7 in 10 youth see our applications as an alternative to a personal car, while 9 in 10 want the authorities to encourage the development of this type of alternative services, not to limit them.”
The companies state that alternative transport services have contributed tens of millions of euro to the local economy in just a few years and employ tens of thousands of people who contribute new taxes to local budgets. “We want to work with the authorities to help render urban transport efficient, to lower pollution and to solve the parking space crisis in the large cities. We share the taxi industry’s opinion that the legislative framework needs updating; however, we believe that these changes must favour the development of the mobility industry,” the communique concludes.