Initially, the company's services operated only in Lisbon, however, as the years have passed the company has expanded its area of operations and it is possible to find Uber drivers throughout the country, as well as drivers from other companies that have the same functions and way of working.
The arrival of workers who charged for trips in private or rented cars was not well received by other workers who had the same function, the taxi drivers. With the arrival of companies like Uber, there were several demonstrations of taxi drivers claiming their rights, wanting Uber drivers not to use, for example, the spaces in taxi stands and to have the same tax rights and duties. The controversy arose and, in 2018, the State decided to launch the “Uber law”.
The cars used by companies that allow booking trips on smartphones are uncharacterised, that is, they resemble private vehicles, unlike taxi drivers who are recognised by the colours of the vehicles. The "Uber law" begins precisely by declaring the mandatory identification of cars with a plate that says TVDE, the acronym for "individual and paid transport of passengers in vehicles without characteristics using an electronic platform." In addition to the mandatory identification of vehicles, all drivers must have adequate training to be able to drive and perform their services, as well as have authorisation from the IMT to carry out their work.
Recently TVDE vehicle drivers have been protesting about degradation of the sector. Drivers are protesting about the pricing policy practised by the various companies that operate TVDE cars. Now, drivers are seeing prices being practised unilaterally without thinking about workers in the sector. The increase in fuel prices has worsened the situation, as these expenses are borne by the driver.
The Portugal News was unable to directly interview Nuno Inácio, Country Manager of Bolt Portugal's Ride-Hailing area, due to scheduling reasons. However, a press note was sent, written by Nuno Inácio through his own communication office. In the note, the person responsible for Bolt Portugal reveals that the company "has been closely following all developments associated with the TVDE law", as the company intends to assess what these developments may reflect in the sector in the future. As this is a growing market, Nuno Inácio promises that he will use all the tools available to “help its development happen most efficiently and sustainably possible”, always to maintain “the well-being of all the partners involved, influenced, of course, by the legislation imposed.”
The Portuguese government recognises that the “Uber law” needs to be revised, as the development of the activity did not take place under the law at the time of its elaboration.
According to the IMT, in October 2021 there were 31,846 TVDE drivers certified and eleven TVDE platforms licensed in Portugal: Uber, Bolt, It's My Ride, Vemja, Bora, Tazzi, Chofer, Klibber and Mobiz. According to Jornal de Negócios, the contribution of five percent of the value of each trip, paid to the State, has brought in €5.2 million to the Portuguese coffers in just three years.