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Berlin taxis get help against Uber

Berlin taxis get help against Uber

A bitter battle is raging in the capital between taxi and Uber drivers. The latter have long had an advantage: they could offer fixed prices. Now the Berlin Senate has changed a regulation – and made competition fairer

Anyone who gets into a taxi in congested Berlin sometimes has to have strong nerves – or a thick wallet. Traffic jams, diversions, and construction sites can turn a short trip from A to B into an expensive affair. For a long time, ride services like Uber had a decisive advantage here: a fixed price can be agreed before the journey begins, and this does not increase even in the event of delays.

At the request of Berlin taxi companies, the city’s Senate has now taken countermeasures: starting this Sunday, customers and drivers can agree on a fixed price when boarding or booking a taxi – very similar to its competitor Uber.

The new regulation, which the Senate approved last Tuesday, will be published in the official law and ordinance gazette this Saturday and will then come into effect one day later. The traffic authority released this information on Thursday. After the Senate’s approval, the exact start date was initially unclear.

Fixed price with corridor

Until now, the fare was primarily calculated on the basis of the distance travelled. For journeys booked in advance, the new regulation now allows taxi companies to offer passengers a pre-determined fare.

This is done using software that first calculates the price. The shortest route to the destination forms the basis for determining the price. The final fixed price must be within a certain price range around this value. Fluctuations of 20 percent upwards and 10 percent downwards are permitted.

The new regulation initially only applies to the Berlin city area. Routes such as the one to the airport cannot yet be billed in this way. However, discussions are underway on this, said Transport Senator Ute Bonde (CDU). BER airport should also be accessible with a fixed price “soon”.

Source: Stern

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