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Dylan Metselaar

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For the third time already, the Council of State in Belgium has withdrawn licenses for electric taxis in Brussels. As a result, 19 electric taxis have to disappear from the road there, while there are already 24 drove around in the region. The assessment of the criteria when allocating the licenses was not sufficiently transparent.

This is reported by business magazine L’Echo. The case was brought by taxi company SPRL Rayane & Partners, which in 2013 just made a mistake with the granting of fifty licenses for electric taxis. The operator complained about the lack of transparency in the assessment of the criteria in the selection process. During the process, points awarded to several candidates were changed.

Right off the road The Council of State has now canceled the allocation for the third time, which means that the electric cars to which this relates must immediately be taken off the road. Although this concerns fifteen operators with a total of 19 vehicles, only half of them remain in the shed. The Vervoort cabinet is of the opinion that five permits have already been renewed before the ruling.

Lawyer Bernard Francis, who represents SPRL Rayane & Partners, sees this differently. “It does not change whether the renewal of the permits took place before or after the decision of the Council of State,” he tells L’Echo. According to him, this is an illegal extension, because the original license was withdrawn with retroactive effect.

The government is currently working on a new allocation decree, which will be provided for in the future taxi regulation.

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Violent incidents regularly occur in the taxi, both verbal and physical. How can you as a driver best act in these kinds of threatening situations? Aggression trainer Jannie de Jong tells all about this. She has been helping carriers deal with aggression for over forty years.

To get straight to the point : what is the most important tip?

“It depends on the type of aggression. If it concerns verbal aggression, such as insults or threats, then apply the choice model. For example, say, if you continue swearing, I’ll call the police and get you out. If you stop, you can sit comfortably. So what do you want? Responsibility for aggression should lie with the perpetrator. If you really call it that, they can realize that there are no consequences if behavior is changed.”

What if it all goes wrong and it changes to physical aggression?

“An aggressor who decides to fight has nothing to lose. You can do a lot about prevention by keeping your distance, adopting a neutral attitude, continuing to breathe calmly and applying the choice model. By not going into battle in any case, physical aggression is often prevented. And if people still attack you, they have nothing to lose and you can’t prevent that. Then you can do nothing but get yourself to safety and have that person picked up at the next stop.”

How can you train someone to stay calm and to radiate authority?

“What we mainly train is the basis that triggers you. At that point, you need to be in physical control: take a breath, relax your muscles and take a minute. Then you have authority and self-control and thus control over your own reaction. As a driver, show that the taxi is yours and you decide what happens.”

Your book ‘Help I am being manipulated’ was recently published. Is manipulation another sport?

“In those cases, the aggressor is really deliberately out to pull the other person across the border. Rest assured that that is exactly what will happen. It’s really not that hard. How clever of you to be able to check for mouth caps. That you are trained for that! Everyone is triggered by this. And before you know it, you grab someone and you’ve done it. That is a much more difficult situation. Don’t ever get into a discussion. Again give them the choice to stop or leave the taxi. Even better is to say that you experience the behavior as insulting, belittling or condescending.”

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In Brussels, Uber drivers can again provide taxi services under strict conditions for the time being. The Brussels government has approved a temporary solution for this. It will remain in force until the ordinance on the reform of the taxi sector is ready.

The solution is intended for drivers who mainly derive their income from FVO activities, i.e. rental of vehicles with driver. Specifically, this concerns Uber drivers. The use of the UberX platform in the Brussels region was banned two weeks ago in a court decision . The temporary arrangement ensures that these drivers can legally return to work.

Conditions This applies so strict conditions. For example, work may only be carried out on the basis of an operating permit issued no later than 2021 January 2021 has been requested. Drivers must also demonstrate that they perform their activity on average for at least twenty hours a week, because this is a solution for drivers who have been made aware of this for their professional income. Furthermore, rides may only be booked via a recognized platform; the physical recruitment of customers is therefore not allowed. This also applies to stationing on public roads or taxi ranks.

Platforms may remain active in the Brussels region for the time being if they have an establishment unit in Belgium that is registered with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises. In addition, Brussels Mobility must be provided with information about drivers, operators and general terms and conditions. Drivers should not be required to join only one platform. If these conditions are not complied with, the recognition can be withdrawn within ten days.

The training decision equating the conditions for access to the profession of driver will come into effect next month.

Get back to work soon “My government has worked very hard and we are pleased that we can propose a temporary solution today, which should make it possible for the drivers affected by Uber’s decision to get back to work quickly,” said Prime Minister Rudi Vervoort. “This proposal respects the court rulings of recent years on this electronic platform and at the same time paves the way for the future ordinance that will establish a fully-fledged unique statute for the profession.”

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Another 1.5 billion euros is needed to extend the North/South line in Amsterdam to Schiphol. If the government does not make this money available, travelers will have to pay. In that case, it concerns a surcharge of 2 euros with a journey for both public transport passengers, taxi passengers and motorists.

The extension of the North/South line was previously this year, 1.5 billion euros has been reserved from the National Growth Fund. This equates to half of the estimated cost. However, the condition was that there must be co-financing from the central government and the region before 9 January 2021. However, due to the caretaker status of the cabinet and the long-term formation, this appears to be a utopia, writes Amsterdam alderman Egbert de Vries in a letter to the regional council of the Amsterdam Transport Region.

For this reason, searched for alternative means of financing. The only promising plan B was found in a temporary accessibility allowance for travelers. Anyone traveling by taxi, car, train, metro or bus to and from interchange Schiphol must pay a surcharge of 2 euros. An additional 0,16 euro is proposed for employees. The levy should take effect from the moment the North/South line has been extended, which is expected in 2021, and lasts until the required EUR 1.5 billion. has been picked up.

All travelers benefit from the continuous metro line “The concept is based on the idea that regardless of the modality or motive, future-proof accessibility of the node for all users is important,” De Vries writes in the letter. “Every user is also inconvenienced if the button no longer functions or gets stuck. That is why a contribution from travelers with origin or destination Schiphol is a form of funding that can be defended as an alternative to regular means.”

The idea is therefore that all travelers benefit from the extension of the North/South line to Schiphol. This creates more space in the train, on the track, in the bus and on the road around Schiphol. The airline passenger also pays, because he has to reach Schiphol by car, taxi, bus, metro or train. By not only allowing public transport passengers to pay, it is also ensured that the competitive position of public transport does not deteriorate.

Better substantiation of the plans If money does come from the government, this plan B can be waived. In any case, this concept is only viable if it is part of the proposal that will be presented by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment to the independent committee of the National Growth Fund. In addition, a better substantiation of the plans is a condition for converting the reservation of 1.5 billion euros from the Growth Fund into a definitive contribution.

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