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10/06/2020

Beat appealed to Hellenic Competition Commission

Beat - a transportation networking company, part of the FREE NOW group, the ride-hailing joint venture of BMW and Daimler[1] - appealed to the Hellenic Competition Commission requesting its opinion regarding the alignment of Law 4530/2018 with the EU competition laws.

Further to the departure of Uber from Greece, Beat[2] is the only company affected by the provisions of this controversial Law, which forbids transport intermediaries from offering more flexible pricing, forcing them to be equated with transport companies in the event of non-compliance, and threatening them with devastating fines.

Beat General Director, Mr Ntanias, during the 2019 “Infrastructure & Transportation Conference” referred to the modernization and development of the taxi industry that was reflected on a relevant survey assessed by the National Technical University of Athens. According to the NTUA, 53% of taxi users said that they would use a taxi more often, in case that double fare during nightshift was abolished, while 78% said that they would use it more regularly if there was a more flexible pricing. NTUA research also pointed out that taxi drivers in Athens are working harder than they should in order to make a living, as 93% of them are working at least 10 hours a day, while 65% of them are working more than 12 hours a day.

Beat’s memo before the Commission mentions that under European case law, the provisions of Law 4530/2018 directly violate free competition practices, while proving to be a barrier to technological development, to lower prices for the consumers as well as to better transportation services in town.

Beat points out that according to European legislation and relevant decisions of the Court of Justice of the EU, the companies that follow the same business model are considered to be "Information Society" companies, not transport ones and therefore cannot be treated by Greek law as such.

Beat's choice to appeal to the Hellenic Competition Commission is unusual, not only because it came two years after the law was enacted, but also because it was brought before a commission that has no decisive authority, instead of the Council of State, as would be expected.  

An Article by NATSIOU KONSTANTIA, Associate.

[1] "Daimler and BMW invest $1.1 billion in urban mobility services"

[2] Beat is a company that cooperates with 8.000 taxi drivers in Greece with the number of registered passengers exceeding 1.6 million at the end of 2019, while employing more than 320 employees in the country.