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Romania legalizes operations of ride-sharing platforms

Romania legalizes operations of ride-sharing platforms app

BUCHAREST (Romania), June 26 (SeeNews) - The Romanian government said it has adopted an emergency decree regulating the operations of ride-sharing platforms.

Companies providing alternative transport via apps must pay an annual authorization fee of 50,000 lei ($12,000/10,500 euro) to the ministry of communications and information society, according to a video file published on the government's website on Tuesday.

Also, drivers must obtain a special permit for alternative transport services from the Romanian Road Authority. The decree also enforces certain requirements that drivers must meet in order to ensure safe transportation for all passengers and good quality of services.

"It was mandatory for ride-sharing services such as those provided by Uber, Bolt or Clever to be legalized in order to eliminate discrimination and to encourage fair competition," prime minister Viorica Dancila commented in a social media post on Wednesday.

The government's decree comes after an association of digital platforms Uber, Clever and Bolt said last month that over 400,000 Romanians have signed a petition for the regulation of ride-sharing services in the country.

Ride-sharing platforms found themselves stuck in a legal deadlock after the government enforced in May a new regulation saying that car drivers holding no licence for transporting passengers for a fee can be fined on the spot with up to 5,000 lei ($1,176/1,050 euro). In the absence of specific regulation for alternative transport services, the platforms could not operate without risking fines. 

Ride-sharing services bring direct and indirect benefits of over 1 billion lei ($238 million/211 million euro) per year and provide employment to over 20,000 partner drivers in Romania, according to the Coalition for Digital Economy consisting of Uber, Bolt and Clever.

(1 euro = 4.7199 lei)