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12 July 2018

Romania: draft bill seeks to regulate parts of the platform economy

In April 2018 the Romanian government submitted a bill to Parliament regulating ridesharing services. The bill prescribes that ridesharing services require authorisation from the local authorities in the cities where they operate. In the meantime, several irregularities have been brought to court.

In recent months, the activities of ridesharing services and other parts of the platform economy have been tabled before courts and have appeared on the government’s agenda. For example, a specialised tribunal banned the ‘unfair competition practices’ of ridesharing company Uber. The court referred to practices undertaken by transport services for which they lacked legal authorisation. The case against Uber was opened in 2016 by an association of taxi companies. In June 2018, the National Supervisory Authority for Personal Data Processing fined Uber 43,000 euro for failing to notify the authority about a security incident that affected the personal data of some 30,000 local clients.

The government formulated a draft bill in April 2018. The bill foresees that ridesharing services, such as the ones provided by Uber or Taxify, require authorisation from local authorities in the cities where they operate. Under the new rules, ridesharing platforms are obliged to provide a passenger support/assistance service by a team that is available and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for incidents occurring during the trip, and to track all trips by GPS. Companies providing such services will have to keep the details of each trip for at least 2 years, maintain the drivers’ financial data for at least 2 years from the date of their withdrawal from the platform, and provide these data at the justified request of a competent authority. The bill provides for a minimum age limit and other obligations for the drivers. They must be at least 21 years old, in possession of a category B driver license of at least one year and should not have caused any accident which resulted in the injury or death of the victims.

The bill regulating ridesharing services was submitted to the Parliament by several MPs from both the ruling and opposition parties. Ridesharing services are defined as ‘the movement of several people with the help of a motor vehicle, based on a ridesharing contract concluded between the passenger(s) and the driver of the motor vehicle, which is facilitated by a company authorized under this law, through an online technology platform/app’. In parallel, the government came up with an emergency ordinance draft that aims to change the law on taxis. The ordinance would make it easier to fine drivers who charge for carrying passengers without a taxi license. Drivers could be fined on the spot at the first offense, whereas the current regulation provides that they are fined only if they are caught several times. These measures could also impact ride sharing services such as Uber and Taxify.

In December 2017, a draft project by the Bucharest General Council (CGMB) prescribed that only carriers with dispatch services authorised by the municipality would in future be able to carry out taxi transport activities in the Romanian capital. However, it is unclear when this draft will be implemented.

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