Big reforms on the way for taxi services in Flanders

The Flemish Government has approved a series of measures that will mean big changes to the rules governing taxi services in our region. The new Flemish taxi decree will come into force by 2020 at the latest. The Flemish Transport Minister Ben Weyts says that the new taxi decree will mean “more taxis at lower prices”. 

The system of fixed tariffs will be scrapped as will a number of other rules that are currently in force. However, one new rules is to be introduced that stipulates that all taxi drivers working in Flanders must be able to speak Dutch.

In Flanders taxi travel is viewed by many as an expensive luxury. There are also relatively few licenced taxis on the roads in our region. This is due to rules that impose fixed tariffs, restrict the area in which taxis can pick up customers, and a restriction on the number of taxis that can be licenced to 1 taxi per 1,000 population.     

Once the new rules come into force taxi companies will be able to decide their own tariffs. The quota of 1 tax per 1,000 population will be scrapped as will the rules that limit the area in which a taxi can pick people up on the street to the municipality or city in which it is licenced.  

Currently a taxi that takes some from (for example) Ghent to Antwerp must return to Ghent empty. This means that the customer also pays for the return journey. Once the new rules come into force licenced taxis will be able to pick up customers in the whole of Flanders.   

Furthermore, under the new rules that will come into force before 1 January 2020, all taxi drivers based in Flanders will have to be able to speak and understand Dutch.