The taxi industry protested several times against the reform of the Passenger Transport Act, as here on February 19 in Berlin
Photo: Kay Nietfeld / dpa
The Bundestag passed the controversial reform of the Passenger Transport Act.
For the first time, politicians are creating an explicit legal basis for digital mobility services and giving providers such as Uber, Free Now and the Volkswagen subsidiary Moia more freedom.
However, the particularly controversial obligation to return to the original location remains, something that Uber, for example, criticizes.
The drivers are called by app or phone, but have to return empty to their starting point.
Only taxis are allowed to collect new passengers en route.
But this industry is also not happy about the new regulations because of the competition.
Municipalities get more influence
"The last compromise found in intensive negotiations is a real breakthrough in terms of content and common ground," said Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU).
So-called pooling services are now also to be regularly allowed: These collective taxes do not travel on fixed routes like buses and trains, but instead transport passengers together who have previously reported via app.
Transport companies should also be able to offer services that previously existed as pilot projects and that were only allowed through an experimental clause in the law.
That could improve the situation especially for people in rural areas.
The municipalities also have more influence.
You can set multiple return points in larger communities to avoid empty journeys.
You can protect your own local transport to a certain extent from competition from collective rental taxes, for example by setting minimum prices for their journeys.
The law also provides that data are transmitted.
In this way it can be checked whether the vehicles are really returning.
Providers like Uber are also regarded as companies that are liable for them, and not as mere intermediaries for self-employed drivers.
Criticism of the new law came from the FDP, which, like the Left and AfD, voted against the law.
"An abundance of new regulations and restrictions" prevents fair competition in traffic, criticized the FDP member of the Bundestag Torsten Herbst.
The obligation to return means several million empty trips per year - "with a view to climate protection a completely absurd regulation."
Now the Federal Council still has to decide on the law.
His approval is considered certain, however, as the Greens were also involved in the grand coalition's project and already voted for it in the Bundestag.
Icon: The mirror
ene / Reuters / AFP