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Car-sharing should not be for profit, says Swedish study

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Car-sharing should not be for profit, says Swedish study
Taxis outside Stockholm central train station. Photo: Emma-Sofia Olsson/SvD/TT
16:21 CET+01:00
A government inquiry has proposed new rules for the taxi industry, effectively banning car-pooling services from making a profit.

The commission behind the inquiry suggested that profit-making car-pooling services – such as UberPOP which was recently scrapped in Sweden – should count as taxi services and should therefore be subject to rules and laws regulating the taxi industry.

It said that those who want to operate a taxi business should not be able to get an exemption from requirements to have a meter – something which had helped pave the way for Uber, which lets its drivers use their own cars – but said other measures could fill the same function as a meter.

Unmetered cars could still be allowed if they are prebooked, connected to some kind of booking app, and have what is referred to in the report as "special equipment for taxi vehicles" which collects data and makes it possible for authorities to make sure that taxes and other fees are paid.

The Swedish Taxi Association, which had fought against Uber and other car-sharing services being exempt from the meter requirement, welcomed the commission's report.

"We are positive, we really are," its director Claudio Skubla told the TT newswire.

However, Uber's Sweden head suggested that the new car-pooling rules were outdated.

"I had expected more, Sweden will be somewhat outrun now. Governments around the world have for decades tried to promote car pooling, but we've lacked the technology to connect people and the incentives to share journeys," said Martin Hedevåg.

"The technology is there now, but the inquiry's proposal does not enable you to benefit from those social benefits of large-scale car pooling."

UberPOP, the low-cost spin-off of US-founded Uber touted as a car-sharing service, was scrapped in Sweden last month after a number of its drivers were convicted for operating illegal taxis.

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