What the Conseil Constitutionnel’s Decision Means for VTCs & Their Customers
A week ago the Conseil Constitutionnel announced its decision on the constitutionality of three key points in the Loi Thévenoud, proposed last year. Specifically that VTCs :
- must fix the price of any booking at the time of the reservation, and not at the end (as taxis do)
- must be booked via reservation. In other words VTC cannot “hail on the street »
- drivers must « return to base” at the end of each booking
The Conseil Constitutionnel struck down point 1 of the law but upheld points 2 and 3.
At SnapCar we already follow parts 1 and 2: our customers want the option of fixed price bookings and we’re happy to provide them. And we have always followed point 2 of the law: SnapCars can only be booked via reservation.
But we can’t support point 3 of the law and will not encourage our chauffeurs to comply with it.
This part of the law is the definition of walking on one’s head. Here’s what it means for a VTC driver to “return to base” at the end of each booking:
Imagine a driver based in Evry where he lives, who transports a client to Roissy CDG. Once he has dropped off his client, the smart thing for this chauffeur to do is wait near where he is for a booking to go somewhere else, perhaps into Paris. The chauffeur doesn’t have far to go to pick up this client (you), and you get transported almost immediately. Everyone wins.
But Part 3 of the loi thevenoud would force the chauffeur to drive more than 40 kilometres back to Evry instead. If his next booking is at Roissy CDG, he would then have to drive 40 kilometers back in the opposite direction to get to his client (you).
Clearly everyone loses in this scenario: the chauffeur, the traffic (more cars driving around for no good reason), the environment (80 km for no reason), and most of all you, who must now wait 45 minutes for your VTC when he could have otherwise been there in five. Do you want to wait? Of course not.
So what are the implications of point 3 of the law? Here are a few:
- It makes it impossible for a VTC driver to earn a living
- It is unenforceable: the taxi police can’t actually stop thousands of drivers to find out if they’re “reserved” or “returning to base”. They will issue a few fines from time to time, but overall it will have no impact
- It will create more unnecessary traffic and has a net negative effect on the environment
- it makes chauffeurs worry about their jobs, when in reality they should only be worried about one thing: transporting you the way you know SnapCar drivers do
Point 3 of the loi Thevenoud is senseless and not in your interest as a consumer. At SnapCar we want you to have a choice of transport and will fight for your right to do so. And when this part of the law is eventually cancelled, because it doesn’t make any sense, no one will be happier about it than SnapCar. But in the interim, nothing has changed for us and nothing will. So book when you’re ready: We’re always happy to be there.