The Governing Council has approved the Decree Law amending the Ávalos Law, on Urban and Metropolitan Passenger Transport in Andalusia, which regulates the service of chauffeur-driven transport vehicles (VTC). The Board ensures that the rule “is intended to guarantee the benefit of the user and coexistence in harmony between the taxi and the VTC, being clear that the VTC are limited by law to provide a service by pre-contracting.” D

e facto it closes the door to the granting of new licenses, since it establishes that “there will be no more authorizations than those granted by the State and there can only be new ones in the future if the ratio of one VTC for every 30 taxis is met.” Currently there is one every 2.7. There are 3,256 VTC licenses and 8,872 taxi licenses in the community.

The decree law that Fomento has finally taken to the Governing Council includes a good part of the demands of the taxi sector , except for limiting existing licenses and excluding VTCs from urban transport. The VTC companies had warned that if these limitations finally came into force (pre-contracting, exclusion zones, vehicle requirements…) 8,500 jobs would be put at risk.

In a statement, the Junta de Andalucía explains that it has prepared this Decree Law “after the Government of the Nation has left its regulation in the hands of the autonomous communities, by suppressing the VTC urban service as of October 1.

The Andalusian regulations have set as a priority that the citizen has the best service , allowing, on the one hand, that the VTCs continue working, but with certain requirements so as not to damage the taxi, and that this public service of general interest is also reinforced and insured”.

From the Ministry of Development, Articulation of the Territory and Housing, the measures that have been included in this decree since 2019 have been discussed and negotiated with all those involved: the taxi sector and the VTC, but also with the most affected municipalities, with the Andalusian Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FAMP), unions and other social agents.

Requirements
The Decree Law meets a series of requirements for VTCs that provide legal certainty and avoid measures that have been the subject of million-dollar claims in other communities , such as pre-contracting for time requested by the taxi sector.

In addition, the Decree Law establishes that protection zones are established so that VTCs cannot park or circulate without a pre-contracted service 300 meters from airports , ports or train and bus stations, as well as 150 meters from hospitals, large shopping centers and entertainment venues, taxi ranks, hotels with at least 4 stars, courthouses or places where a sporting, cultural or social event is held.

Geolocation prior to hiring is also prohibited and the user will only be able to know where the VTC is when they hire it. Likewise, VTCs will have to provide more information to the registry, in addition to having to pass the same training requirements as taxi drivers , in order to achieve the professionalization of the sector and better protection of user rights.

high end cars
In addition, the Decree Law establishes that the regulations will establish technical characteristics for new VTC vehicles, which must be black, without signs or advertising. Regarding the size, minimums are set in the original technical file of the vehicle manufacturer to avoid accessories that increase the length – a minimum of 4.9 meters, so they must be high-end; 4.7 meters for hybrids/Eco and 4.5 meters for zero-emissions.

For its part, based on this Decree Law, the municipalities may establish a maximum of 52 days per year of mandatory rest for the VTC (one per week without coinciding with the days of greatest demand). Likewise, the State sanctioning regime will be applied, granting the power to the municipalities to increase the sanctions for taxis without a license.

The Junta de Andalucía will include in the regulation a price regulation that avoids abusive VTC rates at certain times of high demand . In this sense, a maximum rate may be established in accordance with the principles of proportionality and necessity and after hearing the organizations of the sector, consumers and users. Finally, the intermediary platforms are responsible for compensation to ensure the rights of the consumer, as well as they will have to compensate the client for the cancellation of the contracted service.

Modernization of the taxi
During the last legislature, the Andalusian Government has already worked to strengthen the taxi with a modernization plan for the sector , such as contracting by place and individual payment, the fixed price, the collection of passengers in different municipalities, the creation of service areas of the taxi or the implementation of transport on demand in rural areas with taxi, with 46 routes in 70 Andalusian municipalities. These measures, already agreed by the sector, must be put into practice by the municipalities through their municipal ordinances.

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