The Brussels official taxi sector has produced a plan that would include hiring 600 drivers currently working for the ride-share platform Uber.
The sector is still awaiting an official Plan Taxi promised for the summer by Brussels region’s minister-president Rudi Vervoort (PS). The idea being to support and strengthen the sector.
Vervoort technically still has a few days to meet the summer deadline, but in the meantime the taxi and LVC sector (rental cars with driver) have produced their own plan, which is bold but simple.
The sector wants to poach away 600 Uber drivers to become official taxi drivers. They would receive a contract for indeterminate duration, a taxi licence and be paid according to the same terms as existing taxi drivers.
In exchange, they would be expected to meet the various conditions applied to the taxi sector: condition and cleanliness of the driver, rules about pick-ups, basic street knowledge, proper markings on the vehicle and so on.
“It's not a far-fetched proposition,” said Sam Bouchal, spokesperson for the taxi sector in the capital. “Victor Cab alone, which is a major player, needs 300 extra drivers.”
Another proposal is to take the 250 licences the city has to give but which have not been applied for. Those would be made available for sale by the region’s agency Brussels Mobility.
And drivers who did not want to purchase a licence would be allowed to rent one – a system that already exists in France.
The plan also includes a range of more minor changes:
The introduction of a minimum fare of €8, to tackle the problem of drivers refusing to take short trips;
The disappearance of Tariff II, which applies between Nato and the airport, , but has more of an effect on passengers returning to the city, who pay Tariff II on the whole journey from Nato into town;
That would be replaced by a single tariff of €2-€2.20 instead of €1.80 at present for Tariff I. "We know that there is sometimes abuse and that this creates tension with customers who go to the periphery," said Sam Bouchal;
Opening all bus lanes to taxis, and making taxi ranks more numerous and more visible.