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    Banned French taxi platform returns to Brussels after remodel

    Taxis in Brussels. Credit: Belga

    A French taxi platform previously banned from the Belgian capital has re-modelled itself and returned to the Brussels market.

    The French taxi company, Heetch, was launched in Brussels in 2016 but was forced to stop its operations in August 2018 when the Brussels commercial court judged that the company was illegally operating without a permit to provide taxi or chauffeur services.

    “Today, we have about 400 active drivers in Brussels offering about 10,000 rides a month,” said Teddy Pellerin, one of the three co-founders of Heetch. The company returns to Brussels with a renewed business model meaning that the company now only employs drivers with valid VVB (Verhuur Voertuigen met Bestuurder) permit, which allows for drivers of vehicles that are not part of a taxi service, to be paid for transporting people, according to the website vlandereen.be.

    The move puts the company in competition with the American multinational transportation network, Uber. The French company has already started operating differently to the competitor by collecting 15% of its drivers’ commissions, while Uber collects 25%, reports De Standaard.

    Uber is facing competition from more and more taxi platforms operating with similar business models in the Belgian capital and across Europe. CarAsap, a Brussels platform that also only employs drivers with valid VVB licenses, is another growing competitor.

    Evie McCullough
    The Brussels Times