Dutch government should modify existing rules or introduce new ones to accommodate companies like Uber and Airbnb. According to a report in the Volkskrant daily, rules which hamper these ‘innovative companies’ and the sharing economy should be removed. ‘But admitting newcomers must not harm the interests of existing players.’
That’s why Hubert Andela, secretary-general of taxi association KNV Taxi, doesn’t think the existing –rather liberal- taxi regulations with regard to contract and street hail work will be changed. “We understood that the existing rules apply to everyone and that there should be a level playing field. We’ve explained to the spokespersons of the various political parties that it is relatively easy for new parties to enter the Dutch taxi market within existing legal constraints.”
Despite the fact that the government has already announced a review of existing rules and regulations in the taxi industry for this autumn, Andela doesn’t expect “a fast revolution when it comes to the rather clear rules for the Dutch taxi and contract market.”
Broadly speaking most political parties welcome the innovative impulses companies like Uber and Airbnb provide for the Dutch economy, but feel the new entrants should abide by the existing rules. ‘Banning Uber and Airbnb is not on the agenda, on the contrary, they are necessary for shaking up established relationships.’
It is felt that companies like Airbnb and Uber operate in a grey area between consumers and other operators in these markets. This also causes clashes between interests. Hotels are fearing loss of business, because Airbnb exploits the less stringent requirements for private houses. Traditional taxi companies are angry because the private drivers Uber uses for UberPOP can drive around cheaply. ‘Level playing field’ is a term used by all parties. Politicians also feel that they have to act, ‘as this will not stop.’ But risks must be shared more fairly: ‘Airbnb is worth more than 7 billion euros. The few smart Americans that created it, are very rich, but are not at risk. Someone who lets his Amsterdam apartment via Airbnb, runs a risk.’ The same obviously goes for the private Uber-driver.
photo: Auto Much