Warsaw, 15th March 2019
POSITION OF THE UNION OF ENTREPRENEURS AND EMPLOYERS ON THE PROJECT OF THE ACT AMENDINGTHE ACT ON ROAD TRANSPORT AND THE ACT ON DRIVERS’ WORK TIME
A new version of the draft Act amending the Act on road transport and the Act on drivers’ work time (UD 277) has been published on the website of the Government Legislation Centre recently. As indicated by the Ministry of Infrastructure, responsible for legislative work in this respect, the main objective of the project is to regulate the activities of intermediaries when outsourcing passenger transport services. The legislator’s intention is to ensure equal conditions of competition and passenger safety for all entities operating on the market and to guarantee a set quality of services.
Compared to previous versions, the change of highest importance introduced at the last stage of legislative work is the resignation from the solution enabling the use of mobile applications as device for taxi fare calculation (cf. proposed Article 4 in the draft version of 12th February 2019). As reasoning for the necessity to withdraw this provision, the Ministry of Infrastructure indicated the negative position of the Minister of Finance regarding the draft regulations.
We believe that the introduction of such significant changes to the project at such a late stage of the process does not serve in any way the quality of legislation in Poland and does not inspire entrepreneurs’ confidence in the state. This is inconsistent with all good practices of consultation. We regret that the second-last version of the project – a good compromise, reducing restrictions on taxis, at the same time regulating the rules of intermediaries – has been changed in this way. Preventing the use of mobile applications as a device used to charge a taxi fare means that the taximeter will remain the only acceptable device. It is an anti-development solution, contrary to the compromise spirit of the previous version of the project.
Undoubtedly, the possibility of using mobile applications as devices for taxi fare calculation would finally make it possible to give up the obligation to use standard taximeters. It should be pointed out here that the use of a mobile application to determine the fare allows for indication of the price to the passenger before its commencement. Getting into a taxi, the passenger, unlike when using a traditional taximeter, is therefore fully aware of the amount of the fare that will have to be paid for transportation. This knowledge is often an important criterion for a passenger when choosing both the means of transport and the provider of such a service. In our opinion, consumers should be given the opportunity to choose whether they want to set fares based on taximeters or decide to use more innovative tools, such as mobile applications.
The legislator’s admission of only taximeters in the new draft in no way fits into the target direction of development of the Polish economy, outlined among others in the Strategy for Responsible Development. Supporting innovativeness was intended to be one of the government’s priorities, while the resignation from allowing the use of mobile applications to charge a transport fare is an action going in the opposite direction. It will not be possible to provide new solutions enabling the implementation of this type of services, as it will still be mandatory to use taximeters as devices calculating the price of transport dependent on the exact distance and time travelled.
It should also be emphasised that maintaining the solutions already in force may lead to a decline in competitiveness on the passenger transport market. The obligation to use taximeters will prevent business entities from operating solely on the basis of mobile applications. The consequence of this state of affairs will certainly be the deterioration of the quality of passenger transport services by taxis, but also the increase in the prices of such services.
Pursuant the facts listed above, on behalf of entrepreneurs, we appeal for the reinstatement of provisions to the draft law that will allow the use of mobile applications as devices for calculating taxi fares.