Uber in Poland legalized
The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection issued a very positive opinion on Uber's services in Poland and clearly writes that the monitoring so far has not indicated that they are breaking the law.
The biggest controversy concerning Uber's activity comes down to the fact that the drivers do not need a license to transport people. Such licenses are required by cab corporations. UOKiK does not see abuse by the operator here and states that „the licensing function is replaced by the community nature of assessing the quality of the service” that is, Uber drivers can be chosen by passengers based on recommendations from other passengers. This is facilitated by the nature of the application itself.
Other allegations include the lack of taximeters in Uber's vehicles. The Office gives a very strong counter-argument here. OK, drivers don't have taximeters, but they are equipped with modern technology, i.e. mobile applications and smartphones, which precisely measure the distance travelled by the passenger and can successfully replace the taximeter. Uber does not rely on taxi meters, the operation of which can often be questioned.
The company's business model is compared to intermediaries – for example, booking hotels, renting private apartments. Uber's business is the so-called sharing economy. Uber-type activities based on services provided via the Internet are in line with current trends and changes on the market. Those are more competitive in terms of the level of services provided and the price.
The Office also speaks about the contributions paid by Uber drivers. Cab drivers cite this as one of the main arguments against the corporation. Most of them are self-employed and have to pay such contributions. The Office refers here to the opinion of the Ministry of Finance, according to which the income of Uber drivers is subject to personal income tax in Poland.
Uber does not have a monopoly
UOKiK also stresses that Uber's services are not covered by patents, so it has no exclusivity on the service it provides. „There is a possibility of further modification of Uber's business model” and indeed this is also happening in Poland. After all, there are applications available on the market like myTaxi or iTaxi which have a similar model. Moreover, they were present in our country earlier than Uber.
Safety is very important in case of this type of service. This is also where Uber comes out on top. Its drivers to drive must be at least 21 years old, have a driver's license for at least a year, must have a clean driving record and provide a history of traffic violations. They must also have current vehicle insurance. At first, Uber's cars could not be more than about 5 years old. Now this requirement has risen to ten. Meanwhile, traditional cab corporations often use fleets older than 10 years.
The Office concludes that Uber contributes to increased competition in the cab transport market. He also stresses that he has not received any consumer complaints about Uber's services so far.
I have driven an Uber several times. At first I was very optimistic. Then I realized that you can drive even cheaper than Uber, because there is a mass of smaller and cheaper cab corporations. While driving a cab I happened to talk to cab drivers. After these conversations I came to the conclusion that there are many irregularities in Uber's activity in Poland. However, after this opinion of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, I am convinced that the activity of Uber in Poland is completely legitimate and should not be questioned any more.