Berlin wanted to regulate car sharing providers more strictly, but now the administrative court has stopped this project. On Tuesday, an urgent action by car sharing providers against the Berlin Roads Act was granted and the special use ordinance was suspended for the time being. This means that the Berlin requirements for car sharing providers will not apply from September. The Tagesspiegel first learned this from judicial circles, and the court confirmed the information.
The providers Weshare and Sharenow had applied for temporary legal protection against the new regulation enforced by the SPD, Greens and Left Party – and they were now right by decision of the administrative court.
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The reason for the decision: According to the judges, Berlin has again ignored existing regulations with the new requirements – as with the rent cap. Because the problem is already regulated by federal law.
According to its own information, the Berlin provider Miles is also preparing a lawsuit in the main proceedings, but the company initially waited for the outcome of the summary proceedings of the Volkswagen subsidiary Weshare and the Sharenow service, which BMW and Daimler recently sold to the Opel parent company Stellantis.
Sharing offers such as e-scooters, rental bikes and rental cars in Berlin should be subject to strict rules for the first time with the law and the new special use regulation. But Weshare and Sharenow complained that the specially amended road law did not apply to them, but was only allowed to steer the proliferation of e-scooters and bicycles in a controlled manner.
According to the Berlin judges, everything that is permitted under road traffic law is a so-called common use. And it should not be declared a special use that requires a permit.
The station-free carsharing is a permission-free common use under road law, so public roads would be used according to their purpose – by flowing and stationary traffic, the administrative court decided.
Parking the rental car is “permissible participation in road traffic according to the road traffic regulations”. The fact that it is a commercial car rental does not change that.
The Federal Administrative Court also made a decision on this years ago. Accordingly, parking rental cars on streets is permitted parking.
How the Senate will react to the urgent decision remained open on Tuesday. “We take note of the administrative court’s decision in the preliminary legal protection proceedings – and are examining further steps,” said a spokesman for the Senate Transport Administration. An appeal to the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court would be possible against the urgent decision. Until the decision in the main proceedings, however, the new legal regulations are invalid.
With the law, the state of Berlin wanted to classify and regulate the parking of rental cars on the streets, i.e. the so-called free-floating car sharing independent of rental stations, as commercial use. The then red-red-green coalition had already been warned that they were going too far.
At a hearing in Parliament a month before the House of Representatives election, experts had already pointed out that the law could be unconstitutional because it would leave the districts and the courts to decide whether station-independent car sharing is a special use.
According to the law, strict rules should apply to all sharing offers such as e-scooters, rental bikes and rental cars in Berlin for the first time from September. The requirements for rental cars do not apply for the time being.
The law had regulated the conditions under which the providers received the special use permit. The law also only provided for a limited contingent and a selection process among the providers. Without permission, the providers would have acted improperly.
In addition, rental car providers should move vehicles that have been parked incorrectly from September. They should only have four hours between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. as soon as they find out about the case, according to the ancillary provisions on special use for car rental companies, which are available in the Tagesspiegel. Wrongly parked vehicles that are reported at night should be moved by 10 a.m. the following day.
So that citizens can report improperly parked vehicles, car sharers, like e-scooter providers, should be obliged to set up a free telephone hotline, which should be clearly visible on the cars.
The Senate also wanted to collect some data about the offers. The providers should report the daily total number of their vehicles and the proportion of cars parked outside the S-Bahn ring on a quarterly basis. In addition, the Senate demanded anonymous information on the number, duration and distance covered of daily rental transactions, as well as the start and end points in the city.
Last year, the companies threatened to sue in the event that their offers were classified as special uses of road land, similar to e-scooters. In a legal opinion, they explained at the time that the parking of car-sharing vehicles was “a parking process that does not require a permit under current federal law”, which the federal government had finally regulated with the Road Traffic Act. The state of Berlin therefore has no right to enact provisions that go beyond this.