The PSC boycotts a meeting to discuss a moratorium to regulate the VTC

William GinesCONTINUEMadrid Updated: 06/17/2022 00:57h
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The 'Ábalos decree' approved by the previous Minister of Public Works to put order in the sector of tourist vehicle licenses with a driver (VTC) is about to explode in the hands of the Government. The platforms threaten with million-dollar complaints, the communities demand a new moratorium from the Executive for the entry into force of the norm, while the taxi sector warns that it will take to the streets if the extension is approved. The guild also has an influential ally on its side: the PSC.

Those involved begin to position themselves with a view to October. If there are no news, 9,329 permits with which Uber and Cabify operate will cease to be valid on the 1st of that month.

The reform approved in 2018 by Fomento prohibited these authorizations from making urban journeys if the autonomous community of origin did not expressly regulate their activity. To avoid falling into expropriations,
Ábalos then compensated the owners
of these permits with a moratorium of four years during which they could continue to operate normally. An extension that ends next October.

The regions have so far ignored this deadline. Since 2018, only the Community of Madrid has regulated the use of these authorizations to ensure their use, with a law that was approved despite strong opposition from the taxi and that came into force this week. The rest of the regions, however, have not yet promoted their own regulations, which leaves almost 10,000 of the 17,500 VTC authorizations active in Spain up in the air.

That is why several autonomies have begun to propose a new moratorium to the Government beyond the initial period of four years. An initiative that has been led by the Valencian Community, which after Madrid, Andalusia and Catalonia is the one with the most operating licenses, with 681 permits, according to the latest records from the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda.

The Government had been willing to at least discuss this possibility, and for this reason it had summoned the general directors of transport of the autonomous communities to an extraordinary meeting that was going to be held yesterday. On the agenda of the meeting, which was also going to serve for the Executive to encourage the autonomies to regulate, a point was included to analyze a possible extension at the end of these permits.

But the meeting did not take place. Taxi organizations such as Elite agreed to the agenda and threatened on Tuesday to call mass mobilizations if a new extension of the moratorium was discussed. "If the communities have not done their homework, it is their problem," they explain from the association.

As this newspaper has learned from various sources, members of the PSC have pressured the Minister of Transport (and also a member of the Catalan party), Raquel Sánchez, to call off the meeting with the communities by surprise. The Catalan Socialists have a solid alliance with the taxi sector, a union that has great weight in the region. A reflection of this alliance is, for example, the fact that the PSC has supported demands of the union such as the proportion of
taxi and VTC licenses
be 30 to 1 again in Catalonia.

After the party's outright refusal to even analyze a possible extension of the 'Ábalos decree', the Government has reiterated to several associations that this moratorium will never be carried out and on October 1 those VTC licenses that are not regulated will no longer be valid in their community of origin.

Request from Brussels

Meanwhile, from Uber and Cabify they have begun to lobby to avoid what in practice would be the disappearance of the sector. The CEO and founder of Cabify, Juan de Antonio, has demanded this week that the autonomies regulate. And the employers, Aseval and Unauto, have asked the European Commission to put pressure on the regions. On the horizon there are already million-dollar lawsuits against the State if finally the autonomies do not ensure the survival of the VTCs.

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