Top 3 On-Demand Mobility Stories in Europe - 10 Jan 2019

by David Abrahams on 10 Jan 2019

This week's top 3 stories: UK EV charging rivals get political, strict conditions for scooter companies in Zaragoza, Spain, and Brussels taxi laws continue to be confusing in relation to Uber.

Happy New Year and welcome back to the Top 3 On-Demand Mobility Stories from around Europe. 

1. Competition between UK electric vehicle charging companies get political

The commercial rivalry between UK electric vehicle charging market leader Ecotricity and its competitors ratcheted up a notch with Ecotricity's critics claiming that many of its charging points are based on older technology and are not sufficiently reliable to give consumers confidence in driving an EV over a longer journey. This points to a significant challenge for the UK Government’s efforts to establish a reliable national network of charging points that can underpin consumer confidence to switch away from petrol and diesel. The Financial Times reported that competitors and car manufacturers had written to the competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, to complain about Ecotricity's deals to provide EV charging at the majority of motorway service stations. While regulatory intervention seems unlikely at this stage, the battle for market share in the EV charging market is clearly heating up between Ecotricity as the first mover and market leader, new start-up challengers, the established players in fuel stations, and the car manufacturers. Read more in my blog on the topic.

2. Strict conditions imposed on scooter companies in Zaragoza, Spain

The City of Zaragoza has announced that it will require electric scooter companies to properly employ their teams who re-charge and support the use of the scooters. Currently these workers are self-employed and anyone can apply to do the work, but the City is using its powers to regulate mobility services to require that all personnel are hired by the company directly, rather than being freelance. The City is also seeking to make the chargers responsible for ensuring that scooters are well parked. City authorities imposing regulations on on-demand mobility companies is nothing new, but in light of the significant rhetorical commitments made at the recent Sharing Cities Summit, the use of city regulations to tackle social issues like "precarious employment" status as we have seen in Zaragoza is only likely to increase. 

3. Uber loses in Brussels Commercial Court, but nothing changes...for now

The Brussels Commercial Court has ruled that only drivers with an official Brussels taxi licence and vehicles with a taxi light on their roof may operate paid private transport services. The judgment upheld an earlier court decision which saw Uber withdraw UberPOP, the service which allowed amateur drivers to operate paid transport services, from Brussels in 2015. The latest judgment feeds into an ongoing appeal and so does not constitute a final judgment. Uber argues that its UberX service, which continues to operate in Brussels, is made up of drivers who have the appropriate licences. The company's critics claim that Uber drivers are working under chauffeur-driven car licences whilst behaving as if they have taxi licences. As ever, the court cases will continue.


This is a weekly note covering the top three developments in the regulation of on-demand transport in Europe. It covers taxis, ride-sharing, car sharing, carpooling, bikes, e-bikes, scooters, shared mopeds and anything else that's relevant to the sector. If you'd like to receive this direct to your inbox then please enter your email address below:

Topics: Transport, Sharing economy, Sharing and on-demand transport, Top 3 Mobility Stories This Week, Mobility

David Abrahams

Written by David Abrahams

David’s is an experienced public affairs practitioner with a background in competition regulation and a particular focus on technology, mobility, telecoms and internet infrastructure. He leads Inline's mobility practice.

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