Should the Uber app contain a taximeter

Drivers with a taxi license, driving without a taximeter: what's changing with taxi and Uber driving

Fans of the taxi service provider Uber couldn't be fooled into an X for a U. Since January, they have had to do without being driven from the train station to the suburbs for a cheap 16 euros when the weather is fine. In the pouring rain, the price was quickly twice as high and higher.

But these flexible prices, which were calculated on the basis of distance and demand and supply, were over since the newly regulated Occasional Traffic Act came into force. The drivers had to stick to the taxi tariffs. One of the central functions of the app, the so-called "surge pricing", was no longer in effect.

A little flexibility

But from Monday, interested parties can use Uber X again. The travel agent can at least partially return to his flexible pricing model. What applies to Uber also applies to others like Bolt and the taxi radio centers. Because in January - as reported - taxis and rental cars were merged into a single trade. As of today, for the first time in this country, it is also possible to drive a taxi without a taximeter.

The customer can choose between two variants. Anyone who takes a taxi at the stand or waves to them on the street can bill using the taximeter. The usual regional tariffs apply per time unit and route. In the same way, a taxi can also be ordered via app or telephone - then the price can be fixed in advance, in which case there is no taximeter. For such trips, however, minimum prices apply, at least at least five euros, with Uber it is at least 6.60 euros at the moment.

Flat rate when ordering

So if you order your vehicle in advance - with a fixed place of departure and destination - you can negotiate a flat rate with your driver. In contrast to the previous arrangement of rental car trips with free pricing, there is a corridor under the new regime. At least in Vienna, the price can in future be up to 20 percent above or below the tariffs, depending on demand. If the customer gets on at the stand, the tariff model negotiated between the social partners in mid-February applies. However, this is not yet in force, it should happen in the coming weeks.

From then on, a basic rate of EUR 3.40 per day and EUR 3.80 per night applies to journeys where a taxi is flagged up on the street or taken at the stand. There is also a route tariff for one to five kilometers of 0.80 euros and 0.50 euros from five kilometers. The time tariff for downtimes is EUR 0.50 per minute. However, surcharges should be possible.

One of the most controversial points: All drivers from all providers must now have a taxi license. In the relevant test, they not only have to prove their knowledge of German, but also answer questions about directions and routes. In any case, Uber does not look into the cards to see how many have obtained the ticket. "You have enough drivers to be able to serve the Corona-related still limited demand," it says.

Exodus from the industry

Neos politician Markus Ornig, however, locates a real exodus in the industry and speaks of up to 5000 affected rental car drivers who have no license in their pockets. According to industry experts, that could change. Until the demand, which is currently weak due to a lack of tourists and business travelers, rises again, some could still catch up on the exam.

Uber wants to expand its offer in Vienna and Salzburg again, they say. Talks with taxi companies are also ongoing in Graz, and in the long term a start in the provincial capitals of Innsbruck and Linz would be interesting. (rebu, 28.2.2021)

This article has been updated