The Ministry of Development launched a warning on Monday: people and companies that transport passengers for hire in private cars and charge for it have to be previously authorized. Otherwise, the fines could amount to 6,000 euros. This has generated many doubts. Are websites like BlaBlaCar or Amovens affected by this regulation?
How to share expenses does not need administrative permission would not imply sanctions Without giving specific names, the department that Ana Pastor directs has explained to 20 minutes that “sharing expenses in a private vehicle does not require authorization” and that this is mandatory “when there is an economic retribution and becomes a passenger transport company. ” How to share expenses does not need administrative permission, would not imply sanctions.
Platforms such as those cited above are dedicated to putting drivers in contact who are going to make a trip with people who are interested in the same route in order to spread the expenses of the trip. “Car sharing is not an economic or commercial activity, we control that the prices are low enough so that the driver does not make a profit “, says Diego Ochoa, responsible for Communication of Amovens, in statements to this newspaper.
Amovens: “We control that prices are low enough so that the driver does not make a profit” Ochoa adds that if the driver establishes a price above reasonable, “something that is not very common”, the user community itself often warns of it to those responsible for the page. In those cases, Amovens contacts him to determine if it is an error and if he does not receive a response or there is no reduction in the rate , the profile is removed .
“Amovens does not receive any commission on this partitioning of expenses and does not plan to become a payment service, so it does not do business with the amounts exchanged by users,” says Diego Hidalgo, founder and CEO. Hidalgo insists that his business model “consists of offering personalized carpooling platforms for companies, universities and public administrations interested in promoting this practice, and in sponsorships.”
“A lot of confusion”
The manager considers that there is “a lot of confusion” and that “the regulation of collaborative consumption is often spoken of as if this concept responded to a single reality”. He differentiates between the service offered by Amovens, active since 2009, and that of, for example, Uber . “This notice is not aimed at platforms like Amovens, but companies like Uber that promote a professional use, for profit, passenger transport by individuals,” he says in his blog.
Also from BlaBlaCar try to get away from the Uber model. “We are very different and we are convinced that the release of Fomento does not refer to us,” says Vicent Rosso , manager for Spain and Portugal. “The ministry used a very generic word [to share a car] and this has generated doubts, but the nuances have to be explained, and we are different both in form and substance, ” he points out.
“Its users [those of Uber] exercise a professional activity charging an economic retribution to take passengers within the city, in distances very similar to those of taxi”, they have published in their web page. “The journeys in BlaBlaCar are medium / long distance, around 350 km, and users only receive compensation for the expenses of the shared trip, there are no benefits”.
Uber, a different case
Uber , present in 36 countries, has been operating in Spain for a short time and for the moment, only in Barcelona, although it has pretensions to reach other cities. It has Google among its investors and also connects individuals to carry out urban journeys. In this case a base rate of one euro is charged , to which is added 0.3 euros per minute and 0.75 euros per kilometer. There is a minimum price of three euros and a penalty of the same amount for cancellation.
The taxi drivers have called a 24-hour strike for Wednesday The company recognizes that it keeps 20% of the benefit achieved by the driver, according to Efe . The company states that all payments are “traceable” because they are made with credit cards and that the payment of taxes depends on the owner of the vehicle. “The current legislation does not say that Uber is illegal,” stressed Ana Aguilar, one of its spokespersons, in statements collected by the agency. Aguilar stressed that this type of services are simply not contemplated because many of the regulations in force date before the arrival of the Internet, so a new legal framework is needed.
The guild of the taxi does not think the same and has asked for its withdrawal, considering that the underground economy and the creation of a fiscal fraud bag are encouraged , since there is no “administrative control” over the individuals who use the application. The issue has come to the European Commission, which has refused to prohibit these alternative taxi services. The taxi drivers, however, do not cease their struggle and for this Wednesday they have called stops in the main European cities, including Madrid and Barcelona. The strike will start at six this Monday and last 24 hours.
However, the Generalitat of Catalonia has decided at the moment to open a sanctioning procedure that can end with a penalty of 6,000 euros for the company, as announced on Tuesday by the Department of Santi Vila. In addition to the sanction, the file may end up with the vehicle seal. The Generalitat has reached this conclusion after having processed an information file that concludes that the company and the people carrying out the transport effectively violate the current regulations on passenger transport, by not having the appropriate authorization.