Taxis, VTC, UberPop: what the law says

The activity of taxis and other VTC (transport cars with drivers) is governed by the Thévenoud law of October 1, 2014. A controversial text, certain provisions of which have already had to be amended. State of play.

Who is a taxi, who is a VTC?

The taxi profession is regulated. On the one hand, the driver must meet strict conditions (clean criminal record, no traffic offense punished by 6 points or more on his license, passing an exam). On the other hand, he must have a license. This license is theoretically free from the town halls and the Paris police headquarters. But in fact, the waiting list is so long that the only way to get it is to buy it from a driver who is retiring, for example. Cost: around € 200,000 in Paris.

, but must still justify a clean record, professional insurance and 250 hours of training to obtain their card.

What remains of the taxi monopoly?

Taxis retain the monopoly of “marauding”, that is, they can be hailed on the fly in the street. Conversely, VTCs can only charge a customer upon reservation. A difference that fades in cities where there are many VTCs, which can reduce the waiting time to one or two minutes. The Thévenoud law initially imposed a period of fifteen minutes between booking and taking charge, but this provision was annulled by the Council of State.

Taxis retain the monopoly of the “marauding”.

Similarly, the Constitutional Council has revoked the privilege reserved for taxis of horokilometric pricing. VTCs can adopt it, or choose a flat rate pricing. On the other hand, the Sages validated the provision of the law which frames geolocation systems. Concretely, the customer will not be able to simultaneously have on his smartphone the information on the location of the vehicles and their availability. A somewhat anachronistic oddity, but one whose applications like Uber should easily be played.

Last point of debate: the obligation to “return to base” between two races. The Constitutional Council has validated it, for cars without a reservation in progress. But he recalled that this also applied to taxis.

Is Uberpop legal?

The Thévenoud law reserves the transport of people to taxis and VTCs only. The UberPop service therefore does not fall within this framework, since the drivers registered on the platform are not professionals. Uber asks them to justify a clean record and liability insurance, but this is not enough to bring the service into the nails of the texts. Because UberPop is not carpooling or carsharing (like BlaBlaCar for example), which the law circumscribes: an individual can charge the trip to another, insofar as it is only a question of amortize the cost of using the vehicle.

is however in activity, pending further decisions. The Court of Cassation could, at Uber’s request, ask the Constitutional Council to rule. , the Thévenoud law infringes the principle of entrepreneurial freedom. In any case, it is only at the end of this process that proceedings could lead to a conviction of UberPop, as the Ministry of the Interior wishes. The European Commission, still at the request of Uber, is also looking into the subject.