Cab Federation says that regulation proposal “opens good perspectives

The president of the Portuguese Taxi Federation considered today that the Government’s proposal for the sector’s new legal regime creates “good prospects” and “opens doors that were closed until now”, with changes to tariffs and the level of quotas.

“In our reading of the proposal, [it] effectively reflects the conclusions of the working group. If the final document corresponds to what is there, we have no doubt that it is an excellent work […], the result of a negotiation with 13 [entities]”, said Carlos Ramos, in statements to the Lusa agency.

The draft law was approved in the Council of Ministers on Thursday and entered the Assembly of the Republic a day later, now to be discussed and voted on in generality in plenary, and then go down to the respective committee for work in specialty.

According to Carlos Ramos, the executive’s bill creates “good prospects” for the sector and “opens doors” that were closed until now, and the president of the Portuguese Taxi Federation (FTP) highlighted the possibility of a new territorial organization, as well as the creation of “several regional or intermunicipal quotas.

On the other hand, he added, the document allows “local, regional, seasonal, airport and Christmas” fares to be created, which, in his opinion, “will allow us to respond to the territory’s needs”.

“Whether we like it or not, the country is not all the same in terms of service provision,” he said.

Carlos Ramos also underlined the possibility that vehicles can work with double fare, from the moment they operate with five passengers, as well as the end of the payment of the return in empty, with the existence of inter-municipal fares.

When asked if the Government’s proposal introduces more justice in the sector, the FPT’s president replied: “It allows something that for us is fundamental. To organize ourselves to compete with the other carriers”.

“They have a deregulated way of doing things, they’re fighting us illegally,” he said, in a reference to the paid individual transportation of passengers in uncharacterized vehicles from an electronic platform (TVDE).

The Government’s bill proposes the aggregation of municipalities, to end the return fare and make travel cheaper, make quotas more flexible and invest in digitalization.

The document was not far from the content of the final report of the working group for the modernization of the cab sector, coordinated by the Institute of Mobility and Transport (IMT), which pointed to three structuring points for the new law: contingency, market digitalization and tariffs.

It is proposed the relaxation of the current geographic and quota restrictions, the digitalization of the services provided, in a perspective of sector modernization, as well as the review and simplification of the pricing model and its adaptation to the new institutional context of the mobility and transport sector.

One of the major changes in the draft law has to do with the geographical organization and intermunicipal agreements.

It is intended that the intermunicipal entities define, in conjunction with the municipalities, “the territories and terms where there should be an intermunicipal management of the cab transport activity”, taking into account criteria such as “territorial and urban continuity” or the existence of health, education, commercial or industrial facilities “that constitute generating poles and attractors of mobility in border areas between municipalities”.

Through the aggregation of municipalities — two or three for example — it would be possible to obtain a cheaper service, since the return fare ends, according to the proposed law.

Currently, when a cab leaves a municipality — for example, from Lisbon to Amadora, being licensed in Lisbon, the fares are more expensive, since it is the passenger who is paying for the return of the empty cab, since the driver cannot accept clients until he returns to the municipality of origin.

Transport authorities may also define “seasonal quotas” by moving them between territories that are part of the same inter-municipal cab management agreement, and there may also be specific fares from major trip generation hubs such as airports or cruise terminals.

In July 2020 a working group was created by the Government to study changes to the existing law, composed of representatives of 13 entities related to the sector and transport.