The Government relied on a report from the State Bar to defend the validity of his controversial royal decree-law on rental vehicles with driver (VTC) -Known as anti-VTC or anti-Uber- and try to avoid multi-million dollar compensation. The lawyer of the State Head of the Ministry of Public Works signs a report, which has been accessed by EL PAÍS, in which he assumes that the regulation will cause "damage" to the owners of the licenses, but considers that the "eventual disagreement" between the calculations of the Government and those made by the companies "is corrected" in the decree itself.
The normative transfers to the autonomous communities and municipalities the competence to regulate the activity of these companies, which, as compensation in kind, gives a period of four years to continue operating within the cities. After that time, their cars could not make urban trips if they decide the communities or municipalities. The norm even foresees that this term can be extended if the companies justify that the four years do not compensate for the damage caused to them. The State Advocacy argues that the holders of the licenses are not their owners – so the rule would not affect the property right regulated in Article 33 of the Constitution – and that is not depriving them of their authorization but only "delimits its scope. "
The VTC sector, advised by reputable law firms in Madrid and Barcelona, believes that several articles of the decree are unconstitutional. The report of the State Advocacy reviews them one by one and concludes otherwise. On the issue of jurisdiction, for example, says that "does not affect the regime of the autonomous communities" because it simply modifies an article of the Law of Land Transportation, which is an ordinary law that "neither delimits nor regulates the powers" autonomic.
Advocacy also supports the "extraordinary and urgent need" that must justify any royal decree-law (compared to the procedure as ordinary law, which requires parliamentary debate) and takes as a reason the "patent social conflict" alleged by the Executive for Act.
The government approved the anti-VTC decree last September, after the resounding protests of the taxi drivers in summer, and managed to divert the focus of the Ministry of Development to communities and large cities. But it has not been completely rid of the hot potato, since the companies believe that the four years of moratorium are insufficient and they are claiming many more or economic compensations. If they do not receive a response, they will go to administrative litigation, according to legal sources. These speak of up to 16,000 lawsuits reaching almost simultaneously to the courts. "It's going to be like the floor clauses," slips this source. The lawyers are on the lookout, but "long legal battles" are advancing.
The seed of the problem lies in the liberalization that the sector registered between 2009 and 2013, thanks to the Omnibus Law approved by the Socialist Government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in 2009 that allowed to apply for driver's licenses with unlimited driver. The Government of the PP returned to regulate the sector in 2013 when approving a new Law of Terrestrial Transport, that imposed a ratio of a license of VTC by each 30 of taxi but that was not obligatory until the regulatory development, in 2015. It has never been compliment. There is currently one VTC for every six taxis and the Supreme Court continues to grant licenses resulting from applications prior to the 1/30 limit coming into force in 2015. The High Court considers that those applications should be subject to the existing law when they were presented , that is, without applying the 1/30 ratio retroactively. In cities like Madrid there are already three licenses for each taxi.
The taxi sector is striking as pressure for communities and municipalities to regulate and restrict VTC activity. Among its main demands is that of pre-contracting: it is necessary to request a VTC hours before the trip.