Uber back in Brussels on Saturday: Parliament passes temporary solution for drivers

Uber back in Brussels on Saturday: Parliament passes temporary solution for drivers
Credit: Belga

Residents of Brussels will be able to book rides on the Uber app again from Saturday, following the passage of a temporary ordinance from Brussels Parliament on Friday evening.

“This temporary solution is important for drivers and we are very pleased to welcome them back to our app from Saturday,” Laurent Slits, Head of Belgium at Uber, said in a statement.

“Everyone can now continue to focus on getting a full reform of the sector as soon as possible and improve mobility for the citizens of Brussels.”

Uber was banned from operating in the capital region at the end of November following the ruling of a Brussels court, which found that a 2015 verdict against Uber Pop for unfair competition with the traditional taxi sector also applied to the Uber X services launched afterwards.

But LVC drivers, like those who work for multinational platform companies like Uber and Heetch, will be able to resume offering their services with the Uber app at midnight on 11 December.

They’ll do so under strict provisions put in place by the temporary ordinance, which drivers, along with some members of parliament, have already criticised.

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“The majority promised to find a stopgap solution so that all Uber drivers could go back to work from tomorrow, but suddenly the government comes up with a completely new text that still leaves several hundred drivers out in the cold,” Bianca Debaets (CD&V) told Bruzz.

Some of those provisions include that drivers have to have gotten a permit back in January of this year, and must prove that they work an average of 20 hours a week on the Uber platform and therefore it’s their main source of income.

Uber will also have to meet some requirements, including proving that they have an office in Belgium that’s registered with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (Kruispuntbank van Ondernemingen), providing Brussels Mobility with information about the drivers, the operators and the general conditions related to their work on the platform, and not barring drivers from working for other platforms like Heetch.

Uber will have to meet these requirements within ten days, or Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort can withdraw the ordinance.

The solution is meant to be temporary while the region works out longer-term reform of the Taxi sector that accounts for the new influx of platform drivers while safeguarding the livelihoods of traditional taxi drivers.

That reform, which is supposed to include input from all actors involved, is currently expected before the summer of 2022 but has been consistently delayed over the last several years.

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