Knowledge of Dutch will be a requirement for anyone wishing to be a taxi driver in Flanders, under a draft decree approved by the Flemish Government on Friday. In addition to the requirement for drivers to be able to communicate with their clients in Dutch, the decree, proposed by Mobility Minister Ben Weyts, includes the elimination of certain rules in order to “democratize” taxis in Flanders, where they are, in fact, considered an exceptional and particularly costly means of transport.
The draft also reviews measures such as fixed tariffs, geographically restricted areas of operation, and a quota of 1 taxi per 1,000 inhabitants.
In concrete terms, taxi services would be able to set their own prices and would have greater freedom of movement. Currently, a driver who takes a client from Antwerp to Ghent cannot pick up a new passenger in the latter city. In actual practice, taxis often ask the consumer to pay for the empty ride back to the original pick-up location.
The Weyts amendments would allow drivers to operate throughout Flanders, which should limit the costs for travelers. Moreover, the quota of one taxi per 1000 residents would be scrapped and specific rules are to be worked out to cover new concepts such as Uber.
The draft decree approved by the Government of Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois will now be submitted to the Flemish Parliament.