The Junta de Andalucía has committed to "order the pre-contracting of transport vehicles with driver (VTC)", in its meeting with representatives of the taxi industry to address the regulation of the sector. The bipartisan Government of PP and Citizens is thus demarcated from the position assumed by the Popular Executive of the Community of Madrid who refused to accept that demand of taxi drivers in the capital.
In the meeting, which has lasted for almost four hours, the Minister of Development, Marifrán Carazo (PP), has avoided specifying the scope of pre-contracting and has managed to avoid mobilizations, obtaining from the groups gathered a deadline for the Ministry to present the draft of your proposal for regulation of the sector.
"They have not presented concrete measures but they have offered their commitment that they will regularize the pre-contract", explained Miguel Ruano, president of the Andalusian Autonomous Taxi Federation (FAAT), the main association that together with Elite Taxi Sevilla, Solidaridad del Taxi -also from Sevilla eiInvolved in a judicial process that accuses him of mafia practices to maintain the monopoly of the service at the airport-, and the Confederation of Taxis of the Costa del Sol have come to the meeting. All have been accompanied by legal advisors, including Elpidio Silva, the lawyer of Elite Taxi Barcelona, who negotiated the decree on VTC of the Generalitat that determined Uber and Cabify to stop providing services in that community. "The sector must be hopeful", said Silva, despite the fact that the Ministry has avoided making explicit initiatives.
The taxi drivers demand that the pre-contract be regulated (the associations differ in time: FAAT proposes 30 minutes minimum, and Elite Taxi Sevilla, one hour), the elimination of the geolocation, the return to the mandatory base of the VTC vehicles and the recognition of the taxi as a sector of public interest, a declaration that brings certain advantages, including tax). The Board has not expressly committed itself to any of them, but it has assumed the need to "order the pre-contract", although it has not been clear whether the Administration opts to impose it temporarily or spatially, establishing a minimum distance for request a VTC. In 48 hours, the Ministry will inform the guild associations when they will send their proposal, a document that from FAAT expect "to be able to debate and modify," as Ruano has indicated.
With this strategy, the Board has regained time and, with it, postpone what would be the first crisis of the new Government. 15 days ago, at the first meeting, Carazo argued that he had not yet appointed his team and therefore could not take any decision. Although the bipartisan Executive has not explicitly ruled on its position regarding the regulation of the VTC – Pablo Casado has advocated the liberalization of the taxi sector and Albert Rivera is in favor of not imposing restrictions on the VTC – the Ministry of Development it has been explicitly demarcated from the frontal rejection position adopted by the community of Madrid, governed by the popular Ángel Garrido, and seems to opt for the models of regulation that have recently adopted other regions such as Valencia, Baleares, Aragón o Galicia, also governed by the PP.
Andalusia is the third community in Spain with more VTC licenses (1,869 of the national total of 12,865, according to the Ministry of Development) and Malaga, with 1,184, and Seville, with 222, are the third and fourth cities, respectively, with more authorized vehicles of this type circulating through its streets, after Madrid and Barcelona. "That the Andalusian Government is of the PP does not mean that it is like that of the Madrid community," Silva said after meeting. The legal representative of Elite Taxi has insisted that the Board should also have meetings with representatives of the VTC.
But the sector object of these meetings has not yet been contacted by the Ministry of Public Works, although from the beginning its owner expressed interest in knowing all points of view and "reach a balance", as confirmed to this newspaper Pablo García Trespalacios, president of Unauto Andalucía, the employer of transport vehicles with driver in the community. From the Ministry it is indicated that the request for a meeting has already been processed. "We are not going to accept any type of regulation on pre-contracting. They will find us in the courts, "Garcia told EL PAÍS in a telephone conversation. "It's our only way of hiring, while the taxi has three: the street, the telephone request and the pre-contract," he explains. The director of Unauto recalls that the General Directorate of Competition, a body dependent on the Board, ruled at the time that public administrations can not grant any type of competitive advantages to the taxi sector over the VTC. "The restrictions to circulate through the historic center of the cities, which is only marked the taxi lane are measures that can not be applied," he says.