The Plenary of Congress will validate tomorrow almost in all likelihood the Royal decree law passed on September 28 by the Government that transfers to the autonomous communities and municipalities the power to regulate the activity of rental vehicles with driver (VTC) such as Cabify and Uber. The regulation gives these companies four years to continue operating within the cities, at the end of which the current licenses – valid for the entire national area – will lose their right to carry out urban journeys if the municipalities decide so .
At the end of that period, to be able to travel within the cities, VTC companies must request a second license from the autonomous communities or the city councils, if they want to continue circulating. The municipal corporations of Madrid and Barcelona, both governed by Podemos, and which concentrate two thirds of the activity of the VTC in Spain, have already warned that they will use the rule to reduce the number of these vehicles.
The validation of this Royal Decree, which modifies the Land Transportation Ordinance Law (LOTT), only needs a simple majority for its elevation to the status of law, so that its approval is almost assured since it will have the favorable votes of PSOE, Podemos and the Catalan nationalist groups.
The only party that has spoken openly against the decree is Popular. The Popular Party in the Congress has processed a consultation to the lawyer of the Congress to know if the norm constitutes a "constitutional fraud" when understanding that the transfer of competences can need an organic law instead of a decree law
"Blackmail of taxi drivers"
The standard has been met with moderate satisfaction by the associations of taxi drivers but with the radical opposition of the companies that own VTC licenses and the Uber and Cabify platforms through which they operate. Unauto, which groups 90% of these companies, believes that the decree-law, "clearly yields to blackmail" carried out by the taxi sector and endangers 15,000 jobs.
Unauto warns that "the mess decree" will multiply the problem by 17 by transferring the powers to the autonomous communities, which will have to face compensation for the owners of VTC authorizations to which the license is "expropriated". Some compensations that, according to the consultant Ernst & Young, will amount to about 3,800 million euros.
A report from the law firm Garrigues commissioned by Unauto points out that the decree approved last September 28 by the government, after the taxi drivers' strike and the blocking of main streets in Madrid and Barcelona for days, is a "covert expropriation" by the government of the government.
Garrigues understands that since 90% of VTC journeys are in the same city, the request for a second license to continue operating will mean that "VTC licenses will become, for the most part, simple wet paper with a value close to zero". Therefore, the employers will ask the Ministry of Development to increase the moratorium beyond the two-year extension period contemplated by the decree.
The climate of confrontation between taxi drivers and VTC has grown back to the point that Unauto has called off the manifestation of drivers of Uber and Cabify that had convened in the vicinity of Congress to not coincide with a similar protest convened by taxi drivers