Transportation

Consumidores de punta contra las aerolíneas: exigen reembolsos

Carta abierta: “Comprométanse con el estado de derecho y no nos obliguen a llevarlos a los tribunales”

En una carta abierta a los CEO de aerolíneas, la asociación de la sociedad civil Consumer Choice Center -que representa a consumidores en más de 100 países- reclamó a las compañías aéreas que facilite los reembolsos. “Nosotros, los consumidores, queremos ayudarlos, pero ustedes deben cumplir con la ley y facilitar los reembolsos“, se lee en la carta firmada por Fred Roeder, director ejecutivo de Consumer Choice Center.

“Queremos estar en el aire con ustedes lo antes posible, pero hagan su parte y comprométanse con el estado de derecho y no nos obliguen a llevarlos a los tribunales“. Para Consumer Choice Center, las aerolíneas deben liberar los reembolsos por pasajes no volados y, así, mejorar el vínculo con sus clientes.

La carta

Estimados CEOs del sector de aerolíneas,

Nosotros, como grupo de consumidores internacionales, y consumidores que amamos la conectividad global, conocemos muy bien el devastador impacto que Covid-19 ha tenido en la industria de las aerolíneas. El año 2020 ha sido difícil para todos nosotros y nuestros pensamientos están con los empleados de las aerolíneas que han sido despedidos, suspendidos o que aún pueden perder su trabajo como consecuencia de la pandemia.

Para nosotros, los consumidores, es extremadamente importante tener una industria aérea saludable que nos permita volver a conectarnos con el mundo para que podamos visitar a amigos y familiares en todo el mundo.

Los años previos a COVID-19 vieron muchas nuevas regulaciones e impuestos que dificultaron la operación de las aerolíneas. Incluso en tiempos previos a la pandemia, cerraron números récord de aerolíneas.

Si bien la consolidación de la industria es algo natural y, a veces, incluso buena para los consumidores, las tendencias como los impuestos más altos y los sentimientos antiaéreos, como la vergüenza de volar, se pueden atribuir a la posición financiera más débil de la industria. Y luego vino COVID

Hemos estado luchando contra impuestos más altos en los boletos de avión durante años y elogiamos a la industria de las aerolíneas como un gran facilitador para la elección del consumidor y la globalización.

Pero mientras que 2020 nos presenta a todos desafíos desde la salud mental hasta la seguridad laboral, también tuvimos que aprender de la manera difícil que muchos jugadores en su industria no se preocupan por los contratos, la ley y las promesas hechas a sus clientes.

Todos hemos pasado demasiadas horas con sus call center estos últimos meses tratando de recuperar el dinero que gastamos en vuelos cancelados. La mayoría de las veces, las aerolíneas han tratado de obligar a los consumidores a aceptar cupones para futuros viajes.

Fred Roeder, director ejecutivo de Consumer Choice Center

Darle a un consumidor una opción para un cupón está bien. Incentivarnos a tomarlo en lugar del reembolso en efectivo agregando un valor adicional de 10% a 20% al cupón es aún mejor.

Queremos mantenerlos a flote y tales ofertas son una forma de obtener nuestra aceptación. PERO negarnos los reembolsos, como muchos de ustedes todavía lo hacen, no solo es ilegal, sino que también enoja a los consumidores.

¿Cómo sabemos si podremos despegar el próximo año para emprender ese largo viaje que planeamos para este año? ¿Cómo sabemos que su aerolínea seguirá operando?

Queremos estar en el aire con ustedes lo antes posible, pero hagan su parte y comprométanse con el estado de derecho; no nos obliguen a llevarlos a los tribunales. Cientos de millones de contribuyentes en todo el mundo ya los están ayudando a través de rescates gubernamentales.

Hacemos nuestra parte para abogar por menos impuestos y tasas pagadas en las tarifas aéreas y en contra de las prohibiciones tontas de vuelos nacionales, como la prohibición que se está discutiendo en Francia en este momento. Esto hará que el sector sea más competitivo y nos permitirá a nosotros, los consumidores, volar más con usted.

Queremos colaborar a que se mantengan en el negocio, pero también deben cumplir con las normas existentes y reembolsar a los clientes. Crear confianza no es una calle de sentido único y necesitamos ver acciones firmes de todos ustedes. Dejemos atrás las frustraciones que teníamos con sus equipos de servicio al cliente, devuélvannos nuestro dinero (o al menos la opción de obtener un reembolso) y conquistemos el cielo juntos una vez más.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Entidade de defesa do consumidor critica aéreas por demora nos reembolsos

De acordo com dados da Iata, as empresas aéreas no mundo têm US$ 35 bilhões em reembolsos de passagens aéreas

Entidade de defesa do consumidor critica aéreas por demora nos reembolsos

O Consumer Choice Center (CCC), organização internacional de defesa do consumidor com atuação em mais de cem países, divulgou uma carta aberta aos presidentes das empresas aéreas, criticando práticas de reembolso adotadas por companhias aéreas durante a pandemia de covid-19.

A carta também foi endereçada à Associação Internacional de Transporte Aéreo (Iata, na sigla em inglês) e à Organização da Aviação Civil Internacional (ICAO). De acordo com dados da Iata, as empresas aéreas no mundo têm US$ 35 bilhões em reembolsos de passagens aéreas, de voos cancelados durante a pandemia de covid-19.

No documento, assinado por Fred Roeder, diretor geral do CCC, a entidade afirma que “muitos agentes do setor não se importam com contratos, leis e promessas feitas a seus clientes”.

De acordo com a entidade, consumidores têm gastado horas com o atendimento de companhias aéreas para tentar recuperar o dinheiro gasto em voos cancelados. Mas, frequentemente, as empresas tentam forçar os clientes a aceitar cupons para viagens futuras.

“Dar a um consumidor a opção de um cupom é bom. Mas negar o reembolso, como muitos de vocês ainda fazem, não é apenas contra a lei, mas também irrita os consumidores. Como sabemos se teremos condição de decolar no próximo ano para fazer a longa viagem que planejamos para este ano? Como sabemos se sua companhia aérea ainda estará no mercado?”, questiona o CCC na carta.

A entidade ainda acrescenta que “centenas de milhões de contribuintes em todo o mundo já estão ajudando vocês através de pacotes de socorro de governos”. “Queremos ajudá-los a permanecer no negócio, mas vocês também precisam respeitar as regras existentes e reembolsar os clientes”, conclui o CCC na carta.

Fabio Fernandes, gerente global de comunicação e relação com a mídia do CCC, disse que diversas empresas aéreas não estão cumprindo suas políticas de reembolso e desrespeitam as leis. Ele cita as aéreas RyanAir, AirEuropa, Air Canada, EasyJet e Alitalia. De acordo com Fernandes, a pior companhia é a RyanAir, que ainda não reembolsou 8 de cada 10 passageiros britânicos com viagens canceladas.

“Na Europa, a legislação estabelece o reembolso integral em caso de voos cancelados, e não apenas um voucher para ser usado na próxima viagem. Existe pressão em Bruxelas dos países membros da União Europeia para uma interpretação diferente dessa regra, porém os esclarecimentos da Comissão Europeia de 18 de março reafirmam o reembolso da tarifa do bilhete para voos cancelados, mesmo no caso do covid-19”, afirmou Fernandes.

Fernandes disse que espera que a Iata, como representante das empresas aéreas, sugira aos seus membros que façam o reembolso imediato dos voos cancelados.

Procurada, a Iata informou em nota que a política de reembolso “é uma decisão comercial de cada companhia aérea”. E acrescentou que a Iata “não tem condições de aconselhar sobre as exigências legais de cada país”.

Conteúdo publicado originalmente no Valor PRO, serviço de notícias em tempo real do Valor


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Entidade de defesa do consumidor critica aéreas por demora nos reembolsos

De acordo com dados da Iata, as empresas aéreas no mundo têm US$ 35 bilhões em reembolsos de passagens aéreas

Entidade de defesa do consumidor critica aéreas por demora nos reembolsos

O Consumer Choice Center (CCC), organização internacional de defesa do consumidor com atuação em mais de cem países, divulgou uma carta aberta aos presidentes das empresas aéreas, criticando práticas de reembolso adotadas por companhias aéreas durante a pandemia de covid-19.

A carta também foi endereçada à Associação Internacional de Transporte Aéreo (Iata, na sigla em inglês) e à Organização da Aviação Civil Internacional (ICAO). De acordo com dados da Iata, as empresas aéreas no mundo têm US$ 35 bilhões em reembolsos de passagens aéreas, de voos cancelados durante a pandemia de covid-19.

No documento, assinado por Fred Roeder, diretor geral do CCC, a entidade afirma que “muitos agentes do setor não se importam com contratos, leis e promessas feitas a seus clientes”.

De acordo com a entidade, consumidores têm gastado horas com o atendimento de companhias aéreas para tentar recuperar o dinheiro gasto em voos cancelados. Mas, frequentemente, as empresas tentam forçar os clientes a aceitar cupons para viagens futuras.

“Dar a um consumidor a opção de um cupom é bom. Mas negar o reembolso, como muitos de vocês ainda fazem, não é apenas contra a lei, mas também irrita os consumidores. Como sabemos se teremos condição de decolar no próximo ano para fazer a longa viagem que planejamos para este ano? Como sabemos se sua companhia aérea ainda estará no mercado?”, questiona o CCC na carta.

A entidade ainda acrescenta que “centenas de milhões de contribuintes em todo o mundo já estão ajudando vocês através de pacotes de socorro de governos”. “Queremos ajudá-los a permanecer no negócio, mas vocês também precisam respeitar as regras existentes e reembolsar os clientes”, conclui o CCC na carta.

Fabio Fernandes, gerente global de comunicação e relação com a mídia do CCC, disse que diversas empresas aéreas não estão cumprindo suas políticas de reembolso e desrespeitam as leis. Ele cita as aéreas RyanAir, AirEuropa, Air Canada, EasyJet e Alitalia. De acordo com Fernandes, a pior companhia é a RyanAir, que ainda não reembolsou 8 de cada 10 passageiros britânicos com viagens canceladas.

“Na Europa, a legislação estabelece o reembolso integral em caso de voos cancelados, e não apenas um voucher para ser usado na próxima viagem. Existe pressão em Bruxelas dos países membros da União Europeia para uma interpretação diferente dessa regra, porém os esclarecimentos da Comissão Europeia de 18 de março reafirmam o reembolso da tarifa do bilhete para voos cancelados, mesmo no caso do covid-19”, afirmou Fernandes.

Fernandes disse que espera que a Iata, como representante das empresas aéreas, sugira aos seus membros que façam o reembolso imediato dos voos cancelados.

Procurada, a Iata informou em nota que a política de reembolso “é uma decisão comercial de cada companhia aérea”. E acrescentou que a Iata “não tem condições de aconselhar sobre as exigências legais de cada país”.

Conteúdo publicado originalmente no Valor PRO, serviço de notícias em tempo real do Valor


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Open Letter to Airline CEOs

Open Letter to Airline CEOs

To the CEOs of Airlines

CC: ICAO, IATA

Open Letter to Airline CEOs: We consumers want to help you, but you need to adhere to the law and allow easy refunds.

Dear Airlines CEOs of the World,

We, as an international consumer group, and consumers who love global connectivity, know full well the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on the airline industry. 2020 has been a tough year for all of us, and our thoughts go out to the airline employees who have been furloughed, fired, or who may still lose their job as a result of the pandemic.

For us consumers, it is extremely important to have a healthy airline industry that allows us to reconnect to the world and bring us back to the skies so we can visit friends and family across the globe.

The years leading up to COVID-19 saw many new regulations and taxes that made it harder for airlines to operate. Even pre-pandemic times saw record numbers of airlines fail. While industry consolidation is something natural and sometimes even good for consumers, trends such as higher taxes and anti-flying sentiments, such as flight shaming, can be attributed to the weaker financial standing of the industry. And then came COVID…

We have been fighting against higher taxes on flight tickets for years and praised the airline industry as a great enabler of consumer choice and globalization. But while 2020 presents us all with challenges from mental health to job security, we also had to learn the hard way that many players in your industry do not care about contracts, the law, and promises made to their customers.

We all have spent too many hours with your call centers this Spring trying to recoup the money we spent on canceled flights. More often than not Airlines have tried to force consumers into accepting vouchers for future trips.

Giving a consumer an option for a voucher is fine. Incentivizing us to take it instead of the cash refund by adding 10-20% extra value to the voucher is even better. We want to keep you afloat and such deals are a way to get our buy-in. BUT denying us refunds, as many of you still do, is not just against the law but also makes consumers angry. How do we know if we are even able to take off next year to go on that long trip we planned for this year? How do we know that your airline will still be in business? Can I get that voucher insured the same way as I had my original ticket insured against your bankruptcy?

We want to be in the air with you as soon as possible, but please do your part and commit to the rule of law and don’t force us to bring you to court. Hundreds of millions of taxpayers across the world are already helping you through government bailouts. We do our part to advocate for fewer levies and taxes paid on airfares and against silly bans of domestic flights, like the ban being discussed in France right now. This will make the sector more competitive and will allow us, consumers, to fly more with you.

We want to help you to stay in business, but you also need to honor existing rules and refund customers. Building trust is not a one-way street and we need to see strong actions from all of you. Let’s put the frustrations we had with your customer service teams behind us, give us our money back (or at least the choice to get refunded), and conquer the skies together once more.


Sincerely,

Fred Roeder
Managing Director
Consumer Choice Center


Originally published here.

Carta abierta a los CEOs de las aerolíneas

Carta abierta a los CEO de aerolíneas: Nosotros, los consumidores, queremos ayudarlo, pero usted debe cumplir con la ley y permitir reembolsos fáciles.

-Carta abierta a los CEO de las aerolíneas-

Estimados CEOs del mundo de Airlines,

Nosotros, como grupo de consumidores internacionales, y consumidores que amamos la conectividad global, conocemos muy bien el devastador impacto que Covid-19 ha tenido en la industria de las aerolíneas. 2020 ha sido un año difícil para todos nosotros, y nuestros pensamientos están con los empleados de la aerolínea que han sido despedidos, despedidos o que aún pueden perder su trabajo como resultado de la pandemia.

Para nosotros, los consumidores, es extremadamente importante tener una industria aérea saludable que nos permita volver a conectarnos con el mundo y llevarnos de vuelta al cielo para que podamos visitar a amigos y familiares en todo el mundo.

Los años previos a COVID-19 vieron muchas nuevas regulaciones e impuestos que dificultaron la operación de las aerolíneas. Incluso en tiempos previos a la pandemia, fracasaron números récord de aerolíneas. Si bien la consolidación de la industria es algo natural y, a veces, incluso buena para los consumidores, las tendencias como los impuestos más altos y los sentimientos antiaéreos, como la vergüenza de vuelo, se pueden atribuir a la posición financiera más débil de la industria. Y luego vino COVID …

Hemos estado luchando contra impuestos más altos en los boletos de avión durante años y elogiamos a la industria de las aerolíneas como un gran facilitador para la elección del consumidor y la globalización. Pero mientras que 2020 nos presenta a todos desafíos desde la salud mental hasta la seguridad laboral, también tuvimos que aprender de la manera difícil que muchos jugadores en su industria no se preocupan por los contratos, la ley y las promesas hechas a sus clientes.

Todos hemos pasado demasiadas horas con sus centros de llamadas esta primavera tratando de recuperar el dinero que gastamos en vuelos cancelados. La mayoría de las veces, las aerolíneas han tratado de obligar a los consumidores a aceptar cupones para futuros viajes.

Darle a un consumidor una opción para un cupón está bien. Incentivarnos a tomarlo en lugar del reembolso en efectivo agregando un valor adicional del 10-20% al cupón es aún mejor. Queremos mantenerlo a flote y tales ofertas son una forma de obtener nuestra aceptación. PERO negarnos los reembolsos, como muchos de ustedes todavía lo hacen, no solo es ilegal, sino que también enoja a los consumidores. ¿Cómo sabemos si incluso podemos despegar el próximo año para emprender ese largo viaje que planeamos para este año? ¿Cómo sabemos que su aerolínea seguirá operando? ¿Puedo asegurar ese comprobante de la misma manera que tenía mi boleto original asegurado contra su quiebra?

Queremos estar en el aire con usted lo antes posible, pero haga su parte y comprométase con el estado de derecho y no nos obligue a llevarlo a los tribunales. Cientos de millones de contribuyentes en todo el mundo ya lo están ayudando a través de rescates gubernamentales. Hacemos nuestra parte para abogar por menos impuestos e impuestos pagados en las tarifas aéreas y en contra de las prohibiciones tontas de vuelos nacionales, como la prohibición que se está discutiendo en Francia en este momento. Esto hará que el sector sea más competitivo y nos permitirá a nosotros, los consumidores, volar más con usted.

Queremos ayudarlo a mantenerse en el negocio, pero también debe cumplir con las normas existentes y reembolsar a los clientes. Crear confianza no es una calle de sentido único y necesitamos ver acciones firmes de todos ustedes. Dejemos atrás las frustraciones que teníamos con sus equipos de servicio al cliente, devuélvanos nuestro dinero (o al menos la opción de obtener un reembolso) y conquiste los cielos una vez más.

Sinceramente,

Fred Roeder
Director general
Centro de elección del consumidor


Published here.

Tallinn, Estonia leads the sharing economy index globally

Tallinn leads the way as one of the most sharing-economy friendly cities. Its low level of regulation of ride-hailing and flat-sharing services along with openness to e-scooters, and outstanding innovation in the digital space helped take it to the first place. Estonia is well-known for its booming digital state, Consumer Choice Center reports.

The sharing economy has transformed our lives in a variety of ways. Booking holiday accommodation via flatsharing platforms and grabbing our phone to order a rideshare when we are late to a meeting is a habit many of us share. The innovative nature of the sharing economy has led to its undeniable success. But now, those benefits to consumers are often undermined by excessive regulation and taxation. The current COVID-19 pandemic has shown both how much the sharing economy helped consumers access essential goods and services, while at the same time revealing the very real restrictions and regulations that undermine them.

Consumer Choice Center’s Sharing Economy Index is seeking to rank some of the world’s most dynamic cities and to provide a valuable guide for consumers about the sharing economy services available to them.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

The ‘Bad Boys’ of the Private Sector turn into Corona-Angels

In light of the Corona virus, businesses that are usually on the top of politicians’ lists to be taxed, regulated, nationalized, or shut down are demonstrating how much value they produce for society.

No need for bailouts, just lower flight taxes

In an attempt to contain coronavirus, governments all across the world have imposed various travel restrictions. As it usually happens, the road to hell is paved with noble goals and good intentions. The airline industry that has made travelling between continents and cities more pleasant, time-efficient and affordable will, unfortunately, be hugely affected by these travel bans. 

In fact, the potential damage may end up being so extensive that some legacy and low-cost airlines will cease to exist and cheap tickets will only be a sweet memory from the past. This would be disastrous for consumer choice.

Not all is lost though. There are a number of ways in which governments can help the industry during these trying times. Bailouts usually come first to mind.  Airlines for America, the industry association for various U.S. airlines, has already asked for 50bn USD in support. Many more are likely going to follow. 

As the government is partly responsible for the upcoming downfall of airlines, it is understandable why airlines would seek its assistance in mitigating the damage. However, every bailout is a redistribution of taxpayers’ money without their consent. Do all taxpayers want their money to be used for saving bankrupt airlines? Have all of them travelled by plane at all? Or maybe they are more concerned with the threats posed by the pandemic and would prefer the government to channel their money into healthcare services? Probably the latter would make more sense given the current situation.

Once travel restrictions are lifted, consumers and passengers are going to be very happy to travel again. And in order to catapult the demand, governments should reduce taxes imposed on the tickets we buy. Not only will this help boost an industry without the need for bailouts, but it will also allow passengers of every income group to visit their families, attend meetings, and travel without any additional barriers. 

Every tax imposed on airlines makes the price of flying higher for consumers. Never believe it when governments say they are taxing airlines: it’s actually us consumers who foot the bill. And once the pandemic is over, our subjective value of travelling without limits will increase thus making us appreciate the miracles of air travel way more. We will want to fly more not less. Incentives in the form of lower prices – thanks to lower taxes- will be good news for every consumer.

We’ve started taking flying and travelling as such for granted, and the globalisation that was fostered by it has come under fire in light of the coronavirus outbreak. 

But these temporary bad times shouldn’t make us forget about the possibilities of air travel. Many of us are quarantining these days and feel trapped inside the four walls of our apartments. Skimming through our pictures from past travels and daydreaming about being able to visit more places makes it more bearable. 

When all this ends, we will want governments to ensure we can fly just like before, and as cheaply as possible. No need for bailouts, just lower flight taxes. This will make our post-coronavirus reality so much more enjoyable and guarantee a strong position for airlines for years to come.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Flight shaming won’t save the planet

The so-called flygskamers, or ‘flight-shamers’, are everywhere. The flight shaming movement initially started in Sweden, then proceeded to spread its wings (ironically, at first) across Europe.

Some environmentalists are spearheading a social movement seeking to phase out humankind’s most innovative mode of transportation. Their strategy involves shaming those who travel by air into submission by overplaying the impact of aeroplanes on the environment.

Here are some verifiable facts to consider when it comes to global aviation:

80 per cent of aviation CO2 emissions are emitted from flights of over 1,500 kilometres, for which there are no alternatives but taking a plane.

Only two per cent of all human-induced carbon dioxide is emitted as a result of global aviation.

Modern planes are 80 per cent more fuel-efficient than those in use in the 1960s.

1.5 million people in Africa rely on fresh produce delivery by air from the UK alone.

Aviation carries 35 per cent of the value of global shipments, but only 0.5 per cent of the volume. This means that shipments are time-sensitive or very valuable.

The flight-shamers insist that buses and trains can replace their current means of transport. Discounting the substantial additional opportunity costs of these alternatives, let’s consider some more recent facts relating to train travel. Whoever is holding up nationalised rail as an alternative to rail transport should know this:

Just recently, employees of SNCF (France’s state-owned railway company) have been on strike again. Only 1-3 high-speed trains were running during that time, and almost no regional trains ran. The strike was unlimited and unpredictable. People didn’t know if they would be able to come home for the holidays.

Since 1947, there hasn’t been a single year without rail strikes.

Three months of strikes in 2018 cost €790 million, which is higher than its 2017 profits.

Their tickets aren’t cheap. Affordable ones are subsidised by taxpayers (and even by you as a visitor with every purchase you make) so real prices are much higher.

SNCF is €50bn in debt and runs a deficit of over half a billion each year.

There were 400,000 cancellations in 2018.

One-third of intercity and international trains are structurally delayed.

SNCF has paid €20 million in delay fees to rail station operators.

All this applies to an operator that is challenged not by competition but only by its own self-entitlement.

For the Berlin to London, which is a route all sane people travel by plane, a train journey would be excruciating, both on the price and the time. The existing tunnel is London to Lille (1h22). Lille to Berlin with current high-speed connections (SNCF and DB) takes between 11 and 14 hours (factor in SNCF strikes and 25 per cent of DB’s ICE trains being delayed and the timings would be even worse).

That means you’ll end up with four connections and about half a day of travel. That’s only if you’re lucky, which as a regular user of all of these services, I can say with confidence you probably won’t be.

But what about the environment? As ever, technology is leading the way to a brighter, greener future, with the aviation industry developing new and better technologies to clean up air travel.

Airbus’s new A321XLR, for example, has 30 per cent less kerosene consumption per passenger than the previous generation of planes, while adding 30 per cent more range than the current A321neo model.

That should be to nobody’s surprise. Neither the aviation sector and individual airlines have any incentive to use more kerosene than they need to.

The temerity that these campaigners must have to suggest to older people, in particular, that they ought to go back to the old days of disgusting, tiring and nerve-wrenching long train travels is quite rich. What’s worse, however, is distorting the reality of both global aviation and its alternatives.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Uber seeks injunction against City of Surrey

Uber has asked the B.C. Supreme Court to issue an injunction after Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum promised bylaw officers would fine drivers and the company for operating in the city without a business licence.

Over the weekend, the city issued 18 warnings to drivers and $1,000 in fines to Uber, and the mayor said on Monday that the grace period was over and drivers would be fined, along with the company. Uber’s head of western Canada, Michael van Hemmen, said in an emailed statement that he believes the tickets are illegal.

“The city’s actions are unfair to local residents who want to earn money and support their families. It is also unfair to those who need a safe, affordable and reliable ride,” said van Hemmen.

The requested injunction would prevent the city from fining, ticketing or otherwise sanctioning the company and its drivers for working in Surrey, pending a court hearing. Uber is also asking that the city pay the company’s court costs.

“Our preference is to work collaboratively with municipalities, and we are doing so across the region,” van Hemmen said. “However, Uber must stand up when drivers and riders are being bullied and intimidated, especially when the province has confirmed drivers have the legal right to use Uber’s app, and to earn money driving with the app.”

McCallum told reporters that he wasn’t concerned about the threat of legal action, because the city receives notices about legal action regarding bylaws on a regular basis.

“We feel that the ride hailing, or especially Uber, is not abiding by our bylaws. It does not have a business licence at this time to operate in Surrey,” McCallum said. “The same as any commercial business or any retail outlet we expect that all businesses, including commercial ride hailing companies, will respect our bylaws and will get a business licence.”

He said the city’s lawyers have told him Surrey has the legal right to fine Uber and its drivers because they don’t have a business licence.

“So, we will carry it forward,” he said.

Uber has not shied away from legal fights with other jurisdictions, such as New York City, the State of California and Sokie, Illinois.

McCallum invited Uber to apply for the same kind of business licence a taxi company must obtain to operate — taxi companies pay $161.75 a year for a Surrey business licence, plus $441.50 for each taxi — but did not say whether Uber or any other ride-hailing company would be approved if it did apply.

Uber said because the city does not have a specific business licence for ride hailing, like the ones in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Delta or the Tri-Cities, there is no licence for which to apply.

“According to provincial law, ride sharing is not taxi,” it said in a previous statement.

Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena said no municipality has the authority to block ride hailing, but they do have the ability to regulate the service through business licensing.

“Surrey has obviously gone ahead and said that the companies need a business licence, and they have not issued business licenses, and so that’s really a matter of between, I would suggest, Surrey and the companies,” Trevena said.

The type of licence the municipality requires is up to them — it does not have to be a ride-hailing business licence.

“We’ve set the framework, we’ve created these legislative amendments and made sure that we’ve got the framework in place, including the ability for municipalities to have business license or to use business as they so wish,” Trevena said. “But, it’s not up to us to say what sort of business licence the municipality is issuing and isn’t issuing.”

She also said how a city enforces its business licensing and bylaws is up to them.

When asked what would happen if a municipality did try and block ride hailing in any way, Trevena said it will be up to those who have an issue with a municipality to take legal action. However the province could come up with penalties if necessary.

Uber said although it won’t get a business licence, its app will continue to be available to those who want a ride within its Surrey service area, which includes a large swath of the city.

Uber driver Aloys Mbella, who lives in Surrey, said he had no trouble getting fares on Tuesday morning, having picked up four people within his first hour on the road. As he drove through the city, Mbella said he was not concerned about being fined and would continue to pick up customers in Surrey.

Uber said it supports an inter-municipal business licence, which is being developed by TransLink. It’s expected to be drafted within the next week, at which time it will go to Metro Vancouver municipal councils for consideration. Participation in the regional licence will be voluntary.

McCallum said he is waiting for the inter-municipal licence to be considered by the Mayors’ Council before taking action in his own city. He said he supports the process, even though he was the only mayor to vote against the licensing scheme at a Mayors’ Council meeting in December.

Surrey Coun. Brenda Locke, who left McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition last year and has since formed Surrey Connect, said it’s unfortunate that fines are being issued. She said the city should work with the taxi industry and Uber to make things work “in a civilized way.”

“I think Uber’s got its back up against the wall and they have to take legal action because there’s a possibility that Surrey is absolutely wrong in what they’re doing,” she said. “This is what’s going to happen when cooler heads can’t prevail and people can’t act maturely about what is going to be happening in our province.”

Coun. Linda Annis, who is a Surrey First councillor, said making bylaw officers write tickets to Uber drivers is a bad use of resources, and she is upset and disappointed by what is happening in Surrey.

“I lay it at the feet of the mayor. Certainly the bylaw officers, this is not an initiative that they would take on their own, and they obviously received instruction from somewhere, and that’s just not acceptable to me,” she said.

When it comes to legal challenges, Annis echoed Locke’s comments that they’d be better off working together.

“I think when you’re starting any relationship, it’s really, really bad to be talking about lawsuits,” she said. “We have to work collaboratively with our ride-hailing partners. It’s a service we need to have in Surrey. We need to start off in a collaborative way, not a confrontational manner.”

The Consumer Choice Center, an international advocacy group, derided Surrey’s bylaw enforcement against Uber drivers, and called it taxi industry “cronyism.”

“Going after Uber drivers does nothing but hurt consumer choice and put public safety at risk,” said the centre’s Toronto-based North American affairs manager, David Clement.

“We know from peer reviewed research that for every month ride sharing is legal, impaired driving arrests decline by 0.8 per cent. Mayor McCallum may say that he is trying to protect community safety, but the reality is that he is just trying to protect the taxi industry from competition.”

The issue of ride-hailing business licences, and whether Surrey will participate in the regional inter-municipal business licence, is expected to be discussed at the Feb. 10 council meeting.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Scroll to top