A German magazine reports that politics may pave the way for ground transportation intermediaries such as Uber, Lyft etc. to legally challenge the legacy taxi monopoly in Germany – the largest travel market in Europe.
Laws from the 1960s or even 1930s are not appropriate for innovation as part of the digital age. Some laws protect an industry that failed to innovate over years. Also, chauffeur driven ride sharing is currently not allowed in Germany, even though it would relieve heavily congested road significantly.
I can relate that Uber has had its share to force legacy taxi companies to arrive in the digital age of the 21st century: all of a sudden you can easily pay by credit card in a taxi and have your receipt sent to your email inbox. Something I’m still missing in Germany where the driver last week suggested to take an extra trip to a bank for me to get cash – more money for him for the extra trip, more fees for me for cash disposal, extra time spent and the need to deal with paper invoices.
Germany may take an extra step though: Car-pooling – a concept such as combining trips in minivans via app, is on the map to be an important goal of modern traffic politics to get rid of unprofitable bus lines and at the same time better supply – especially in off-hours. In the US registered car pools are allowed to use the fast lanes for free. Let’s see if Germany can deliver on the expectation to take a concept that is working and even improve it. And, to all taxi companies in Germany: I hope you used the time you were protected wisely to catch up with the digital age.
Picture credit: Cameris / shutterstock