Warsaw, 3rd January 2020
Commentary of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers
on new regulations regarding the transport of persons
The regulations establishing the legal framework for the functioning of intermediaries in the transport of persons are theoretically in force since 1st January 2020. Only theoretically, as there are still no executive provisions of key importance from the point of view of their implementation. We are extremely perplexed that having enforced a very reasonable reform which is the result of months of work and dialogue between the Ministry of Infrastructure and the social side, the legislator was unable to prepare relevant regulations in a timely manner. The consequent of said delay is an unacceptable lack of legal certainty – both for platforms and drivers as well as passengers.
The Act of 16th May 2019 amending the Act on road transport and some other acts significantly changed the operating conditions for a large number of entities on the passenger transport market. The wording of the regulations would change at individual stages of the two-year-long period of works, but the final approach was a very reasonable compromise: the level of restrictiveness of regulations regarding the taxi market was reduced (e.g. by eliminating municipal topography exams), the provisions were adapted to the requirements of modern times (e.g. introducing the possibility of settling fares using a mobile application, and not necessarily a taximeter) and regulated the activity of platforms providing brokering services for the transport of persons, for instance, by obliging them to obtain a separate licence or brokering services only for entrepreneurs licenced for the transport of persons.
Many technical issues, such as the model brokering licence for transport of persons, as well as standards and requirements for cash registers in the form of software or a mobile application used to settle fares for passenger transport, were not regulated directly in the Act. These were delegated and to be introduced in the form of individual ministerial regulations. While the result of the legislative process regarding the amendment to the Act on road transport can be assessed positively, the legislator has failed the exam in terms of issuing executive acts. For example, the regulation of the Minister of Infrastructure amending the ordinance on the technical conditions of vehicles and the scope of their necessary equipment, eliminating the requirement to equip taxis with taximeters, was announced on 31st December 2019, which is exactly one day before the amendment to the Act on road transport entered into force – an act that to a certain extent amended the Traffic Law Act by allowing the possibility to use a mobile application in taxis instead of a taximeter. The regulation of the Minister of Infrastructure on the model permit for the profession of road transport operator and the model licence for the performance of road transport and extracts from these documents, containing the model licence for the provision of brokering services for passengers, was not announced until 10th December 2019. In this case, however, the problem is less worrying, because according to the Act of 16th May 2019, intermediaries have three months to obtain the appropriate licence.
The real problem, however, concerns the regulations that ought to have been issued by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Digital Affairs, i.e. dedicated to cash registers in the form of software and a mobile application for settling the passenger transport fee. These provisions have not yet been announced at all, and are of key importance for the proper functioning of entities operating in the field of passenger brokerage. There is no doubt that one of the most important changes introduced as part of the amendment to the Act on road transport was the change enabling settlement of fares using the mobile application.
One of the objectives of the amendment was to reorganise the Polish passenger transport market. Unfortunately, the effect of the lack of relevant regulations is quite the opposite; the present situation generates chaos and a huge sense of uncertainty as to the legal situation of entrepreneurs operating on this market. The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers has consistently supported legislative changes aimed at modernising regulations regarding market of transport of persons in Poland. We believe that the act resulting from months of work is a good act that fulfils its role. It would be terrible if those efforts were to be wasted by sheer sluggishness in preparing the relevant executive provisions. Therefore, we urge the Minister of Digital Affairs and the Minister of Finance to publish the relevant regulations as soon as possible.