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Countdown to the CJEU ruling: more than 25,000 VTC licenses in the eaves

Date: March 4, 2024 Time: 05:07:05

Barely two weeks before the full Court of Justice of the EU rules on one of the key issues for the urban transport sector. On June 8, the next question will be read after the preliminary ruling raised by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia on whether the limitation on the number of VTC licenses, used by Uber and Cabify, is really contrary to European law. Since the Supreme Court decided to open this ‘regulatory melon’ in mid-2021, it has admitted more than thirty appeals that add up to more than 25,000 requested licenses, especially in Madrid.

More than six years ago, the Supreme Court found itself in a similar situation. He chose to open his hand and establish a jurisprudence that blew up the sector: the so-called ‘omnibus law’ allowed the licenses requested before 2015 to be granted. Later, a flood of authorizations followed that made the ratio of 1 -30 obsolete. It went from around 2,000 authorizations in 2014 to more than 11,000 in 2018. Now it faces a similar situation. Miles of licenses claimed by individuals and companies in Madrid or Barcelona depend on your decision.

The first appeal that admitted a procedure was in July 2021. As the information progressed then, it opened the door to study a new case with the aim of “reinforcing, completing, qualifying or correcting” its own 2018 sentence in which I support the ratio of 1 VTC for every 30 taxis. He assured that in that pronouncement it was not analyzed whether it respected the freedom of establishment of companies or if it involved state aid to the taxi sector based on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. He did not do it ‘motu proprio’, since several months earlier the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) had presented a question that was detrimental to Europe, putting this issue on the table. The High Court requested that both cases be unified. It would not have been like that, since the pronouncement of June 8 refers to the issue raised by the TSJ of Catalonia. The logical thing is that in this first ’round’ the conclusions are extended to the Supreme Court.

The Litigation Chamber has been tracing the admission files one after the other during these almost two years. Specifically, as La Información has been able to verify, a total of 34 claims by companies and individuals have been admitted after the ‘no’ of the respective courts of autonomous communities. Cabify, through its main subsidiary in Spain and Vector Ronda Teleport SL, has more than 23,000 requested authorizations. The resolutions of the Community of Madrid – all are requested in the capital – denying the ‘green light’ are between April and December 2018.

The rest of the licenses up to more than 25,000 are claimed in Catalonia by private users and some companies. There are a couple of relevant packages of 250 and 300 requested by people. But these, predictably, are not the only ones awaiting sentencing. There are more appeals filed before higher courts of justice that have been appealed to the Supreme Court and have not yet reached the Admissions Chamber. That is to say, it would be a high figure taking into account those that are active today.

The admission of these licenses is on the table of the CJUE, because if the restriction of 1 to 30 is eliminated, it could give the green light to the licenses. But it must be taken into account that today there is the ‘Ábalos decree’, a measure that gives communities a free hand to regulate with a potential second license. And that is exactly what the court will also elucidate on June 8. Well, there are two issues that are unified: that of the TS and that of the TSJ of Catalonia in which it not only asks it to rule on the 1-30 but also on whether that European regulation is opposed to a national norm (the ‘Ábalos decree ‘) that “for no plausible reason, it establishes a second authorization and added requirements”. That is to say, in the hands of the European court is the probable regulation of the entire sector.

The CJEU will not only study whether the European regulations allow the 1-30 ratio of VTC and taxi, but also whether a second license can be imposed

Today there are more lax with the VTC such as Madrid or Andalusia and more restrictive, such as Valencia or Barcelona. In this last city the situation has become complicated for some large VTC fleets, as dozens of their licenses have not been renewed because the Ministry of Transport confirms that it does not comply with the regulations and cannot count on that second license that the CJUE could now a knock down It has happened with Auro New Transport and also with Cabify (through Prestige and Limousine and Vector Ronda Teleport). If the CJEU votes in favor of maintaining the restrictions, they will be left without options to operate there. All eyes are on Luxembourg.

Also the eyes of the taxi sector. The main associations have pressed for the maintenance of this regulation that restricts the activity of VTCs in the main cities. Especially in Barcelona they have been very belligerent against the platforms that use these authorizations, such as Uber, Cabify or Bolt. There are only a few weeks left for the court to put black on white. The long shadow of thousands of licenses continues over the sector.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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