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Uber back in business as parliament passes emergency ordinance
The Brussels parliament has passed an emergency ordinance in order to allow Uber drivers to get back behind the wheel on Saturday. A definitive taxi plan has also been approved but will take some time to be implemented as legislation.
Last month a court of appeals in Brussels ruled that LVC licenses were not sufficient to carry paying passengers and declared the Uber app illegal. The app was deactivated in Belgium. Drivers took to the streets in Brussels on more than one occasion in protest, blocking traffic.
The drivers were demanding that the Brussels parliament create legislation once and for all that would allow them to operate legally. It has been nearly eight years since Uber began operating in the capital, launching different services to try to get around the taxi legislation.
Uber drivers do not work for the company but are considered self-employed and given the same kind of licences used by limousine drivers. This has always been illegal, and last month the courts put a stop to it.
There are now, however, about 2,000 Uber drivers who have no other income. Parliament has now passed a temporary ordination to allow them to operate as they wait for the definitive legislation that has recently been approved.
Drivers may continue to operate tomorrow but only those who can prove they work at least 20 hours a week, which defines working for Uber as their only or main job. Drivers can only pick up passengers who ordered the service via the application, not on the street. They are not allowed to park at a taxi stand.
Uber must also provide Brussels Mobility with the identities of the drivers and the conditions under which they are working. The drivers must be allowed to work for other platforms as well.
If Uber does not conform to the requirements, the temporary ordinance can be withdrawn by the Brussels government.
Photo ©Paul-Henri Verlooy/BELGA