Prague Airport is on the verge of finalizing a contract with Uber, the successful bidder for taxi services. Originally, Uber drivers were anticipated to commence operations at the airport in February. However, the signing of the contract has faced delays due to administrative proceedings at the Office for the Protection of Competition (ÚOHS), following a challenge to the tender terms by Tick Tack.
In June of this year, the competition authority rejected Tick Tack’s challenge, finding no grounds for corrective measures. Additionally, it dismissed a portion of the case because the objections were not properly filed in advance. Subsequently, Tick Tack appealed this decision to the Office’s Chairman, Petr Mlsna, who overturned the initial ruling and terminated the administrative proceedings.
This decision hinged on the fact that, after filing the appeal, Tick Tack withdrew from the concession procedure, thereby forfeiting their right to contest the tender terms before the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection.
Martin Schwanda, spokesperson for the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection, clarified, “During the second-instance proceedings, the applicant withdrew from the concession procedure, thus forfeiting the right to appeal against the contracting authority’s process.”
The Chairman’s decision is definitive, allowing Prague Airport to proceed with the Uber contract. Uber, originally slated to provide taxi services starting in February, had their launch date postponed to May due to these objections.
In May, an airport spokesperson announced that until the prosecutor’s office proceedings were finalized, cab services would continue to be provided by Tick Tack, a member of the Taxi Praha group that has been serving the airport alongside Fix since 2016.
Iwona Kruk from Uber’s press office commented, “As previously stated, Uber has met all the requirements outlined in the official operator tender. We are delighted that the Competition Authority has determined there are no grounds for further hindrance in signing the contract, allowing us to commence operations that eager passengers have been awaiting. Over the past few months, we have been diligently developing a specialized product and are fully prepared to begin our work.”
One of the key stipulations of the current tender involves the operator’s responsibility to establish the final fare before each trip, calculated by software. Moreover, the final fare must not surpass the agreed-upon price, even in cases of route changes or traffic delays.
The operator must also ensure the mandated service quality and safety, maintain a fleet of vehicles no older than three years, and require drivers to exhibit courteous behavior, with proficiency in English and at least basic Czech language skills. Cashless payment options will always be available. Additionally, the operator must maintain an adequate number of vehicles at the airport based on current demand and offer accessible vehicles for passengers with disabilities or families with children.