August 3, 2020

Courts lay down sanctions against Uber and Cabify cars | Economy

The most common sanction received by the VTC is for "being parked on public roads waiting for customers to be hired without being previously hired". The fines reach 601 euros to be considered a serious violation of the Regulation of the Law of Land Transportation of 1990, according to the requesting administrations. But the courts consider that the fact that a VTC vehicle is parked in the street, even if it is in the vicinity of a train or bus station, an airport or a football stadium does not mean that you want to attract travelers. They also allege that the mere denunciation of the agent – usually a municipal police officer – does not serve as sufficient evidence to prove this behavior and that the current legislation does not include that figure in the parking lot as a reason for sanction.

This is confirmed in at least three judgments of the courts of the administrative litigation of Madrid against other sanctions of the Ministry of Transport of the Community of Madrid, which has had access to the country.

Judicial decisions contradict the thesis advocated by taxi drivers' associations that many of the VTC companies actually act as taxis, as they pick up the public on the road or park in places where there is a potential demand from travelers (stadiums, stations, leisure centers, etc.) to quickly catch passengers as soon as they request a ride through the app as Uber or Cabify.

VTC feel harassed

It is estimated that currently more than 2,000 disciplinary proceedings are being processed for this cause only in the Community of Madrid that can be canceled. The companies of VTC assure that they feel "harassment" by the regional and municipal administrations, that they even allude to the increase of the sanctions to silence the protests of the taxi drivers who ask for a hard hand against these competitors.

Thus, a sentence of last November 30 of the court of the administrative dispute number 32 of Madrid, annuls the sanction of 601 euros imposed on a VTC vehicle on March 22 last "to attract customers in the vicinity of the Vicente Calderón stadium". The ruling ensures that the vehicle was not contracted because it had no client and not having it does not violate the regulations that require return to local base or specific parking place so it can perfectly be parked on public roads without committing any infraction.

The court ensures that the defendant administration bears the burden of proof and certify in particular if there is customer acquisition and that it is not proven by the mere parking of the vehicle. "Promoting customer acquisition involves more than the passive behavior of being parked on public roads at a service station, at an airport or near the football stadium. It is an activity by the staff of the company to try to attract customers to the service […]. The described fact consisting of parking is insufficient to destroy the presumption of innocence corresponding to the evidentiary burden of the defendant Administration ", the judge indicates.

Another ruling of the court of administrative litigation number 10 of Madrid cancels a penalty also of 601 euros from the Department of Transport of Madrid that was imposed on a VTC driver on July 27, 2016. The complaint of the Municipal Police alleged that the The car was parked at a gas station between terminals T1 and T2 of the Madrid-Barajas airport waiting for customers without being previously hired.

Canceled due to lack of evidence

The ruling states that "certainly the mere parking at a gas station does not presuppose, per se, that clients are being recruited for the presumption of innocence "and, therefore, there is" a lack of proof of sufficient charge "for which the remedy of the defendant VTC company is served and the sanction is canceled.

This ruling also indicates that the sole derogatory provision of the Royal Decree of April 20, 2018, repealed several paragraphs of Article 182 of the Regulation of the Law of Land Transportation on which the instruction of the sanctioning proceeding was based.

A ruling of April 30, 2018 of the court of administrative litigation number 32 of Madrid, and annulled a sanction of February 2017 of 601 euros against a company partner of Cabify, alleging that the Community of Madrid does not define what is meant by "Client search action" or "traveler acquisition". And the fact that "has been set unilaterally by the defendant Administration itself in its sanctioning resolutions without mentioning the legal or regulatory source that has established the description thus used, questions its legality" indicates the ruling.

The ruling makes clear that the description of action in search of customers does not seem defined in any of the rules of the current legislation on VTC, namely, article 141.8 of Law 16/1987, of July 30, or article 182.1 of Royal Decree 1211/1990, of September 28, or in article 23 of Order FOM / 36/2008, of January 9.

There are also several judgments that deny fines of 401 euros each imposed by the Community of Madrid for failing to comply with the VTC's obligation to carry a route time or fill it in incomplete form. This is dictated by two judgments of the courts of contentious number 10 and number 3 of Madrid, of September 25 and November 26 passed, respectively. The judgments deny the Administration's request that the passenger be identified, according to the text to which this newspaper has had access.

The courts prohibit the restrictions in Córdoba and Granada and reject the Ada Colau regulations

A VTC driver in Barcelona.
A VTC driver in Barcelona.

Another group of sentences expressly prohibit the attempt of municipalities such as Cordoba, Granada or Barcelona to prevent access to the center of cities or areas restricted to traffic. One of the most innovative, that the City Council of Barcelona that Ada Colau directs has not made public, is the one that dictated last November 27 the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia, in which it refuses to revoke the precautionary suspension of the Regulation of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB).

The room agreed on September 26, 2018 to provisionally suspend that regulation of Colau that sought to restrict the circulation of VTCs in the metropolitan area by requiring a second municipal license to operate. That suspension was the spark that gave rise to the mobilizations carried out by the taxi drivers last summer that began in Barcelona and then spread to Madrid, Seville, Valencia and other cities. In the same, hundreds of taxi drivers cut large roads and carried out vandalism, until the Ministry of Development announced a new regulation that gives a term of four years to the VTC to continue circulating.

The Board of the AMB, the Integral Taxi Platform and the National Taxi Association of Madrid filed an appeal against this suspension of the Regulation, but the TSJ of Catalonia has again denied the petition, and also argues that the Decree Law of Promotion of 28 September test the success of its initial decision as the standard guarantees at least four the status that had been enjoying in the urban area VTC authorizations, which had been applied the regulation of the AMB would have been "severed in a way difficult to repair "

Another sentence of the court of contentious number 2 of Cordoba of last November 15 provisionally suspends the decision of the Cordovan City Council, governed by the PSOE with the support of Podemos, to restrict the entry of the VTC in the center of the city.

Likewise, a court in Granada has paralyzed in a precautionary way the measure of the City of Granada to limit access to the city center of the VTC, which serve platforms such as Uber and Cabify because they understand that the measure may "constitute a violation of the norms of the defense of the competition ".


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