Ljubljana – The National Assembly passed in a 50:36 vote on Tuesday amendments to the act on road transport that create the legal basis for transportation platforms such as Uber or Lyft, changes that the government argues will facilitate the digitalisation of the transport sector.
The proposal sets down that drivers using digital platforms would need to get a licence, just like regular taxi drivers, whereas taximeters would no longer be mandatory for taxi drivers, who would be allowed to use software instead.
Municipalities would have a say in setting the rules since they would be able to determine the quality standard, including the type of vehicle.
The amendments also include certain provisions making public transport more attractive to users and simplifying procedures for obtaining transit cards for professional athletes.
The legislation received unanimous backing from the coalition as well as the opposition National Party (SNS) and Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS), and unaffiliated MPs, who argued it would simplify and digitise transportation services.
Mobile applications will bring “much needed transparency” and reduce fraud, said New Slovenia (NSi) deputy Mihael Prevc, with Mateja Udovč of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) adding it would improve drivers’ efficiency.
Democrat (SDS) MP Bojan Podkrajšek said the legislation was also a way to prevent monopolies and would not create disloyal competition.
The centre-left opposition decried the bill as written by lobbyists and tailored to the US platform Uber, whose business model, according to Left deputy Miha Kordiš, is not employing workers but hiring staff in precarious forms of employment and not giving them any rights.
The Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) likewise argued the legislation was tailored to Uber and warned about abuse of labour rights, whereas Gregor Židan of the Social Democrats (SD) said workers would be squeezed.
Slovenian tech firms have come out in support of the legislation.
The Slovenian Automotive Cluster and six digital mobility companies said in a public letter in support of the legislation that the solutions would drive progress.
Mobility is increasingly intertwined with digital technology and the amendments will make it possible to create new, user-centric business models, they said.
Similarly, Slovenia’s Digital Champion Marko Grobelnik recently told MPs a green breakthrough could only be achieved with the changes given the limits of the existing legislation.