A Legal Evaluation Regarding the Carpooling and Examples of BlaBlaCar

Definations and History

Carpooling as an idea of sharing petrol and other expenses between passengers, has its origins in the 1920s with the emergence of the first cheap, affordable cars, WWII petrol shortages and the 1979 oil crisis in the US. After the oil prices dropped in the 1980s and the 1990s, so did the popularity of carpooling. In recent years, thanks to increased oil prices, ecological concerns, open borders and better connectivity via social media, carpooling has become popular again,

By highlighting the key elements, it can be concluded that carpooling is a method of lowering the costs of travelling by sharing the costs of petrol, highway tolls, paid parking spaces and other expenses. The flexibility of contract is high as long as it is not for profit – the money is supposed to cover the costs but nothing more than that. The relation between driver and the passenger is usually started by social network (but also in other ways, such as workplaces, manned carpooling agencies or apps) where one person advertises the will to travel (a passenger) or the will to take passengers (a driver) at a designated time and route.

Carpooling can be a form of long-distance travelling (both national and international) and everyday commuting from home to work (so called “urban carpooling”). The difference lies however not in the distance, but in the frequency of the journey and the composition of passengers. Usually, the long-distance journeys are creating a different set of people in the car, whilst local rides (i.e. more periodical) are usually a set of the same people from Monday to Friday. Most of the agents focus on one of two abovementioned forms.

Legal Issues

Intercity passenger transportation is carried out according to Road Transport Law No. 4925 and Road Transport Regulation. In accordance with Article 46 of the Road Transport Regulation, the beneficiaries of passenger transportation can also benefit from the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, Law No. 6502 on Consumer Protection.

According to Turkish law, without having the authorization certificate, it is a crime to carry people for money (even though they are common). According to the administrative fines of the year 2018, without obtaining a certificate of authorization or authorization certificate, those who have an activity that does not comply with the scope of the authorization document is imposed an administrative fine of 1144 TL. Whether you want to use the BlaBlaCar platform or not, you can face this kind of punishment regardless of the platforms.

According to an answer from BlaBlaCar[1];

  • BlaBlaCar is an intercity travel sharing network that brings together passengers traveling in 14 countries in the same direction as drivers with empty seats. BlaBlaCar is a free travel sharing platform. BlaBlaCar does not provide transportation / transport services. BlaBlaCar aims to share the cost of travel by combining drivers and passengers who will already travel in the same direction. Traveling vehicles are personal vehicles of BlaBlaCar members and are not used for public transport.
  • The operation of BlaBlaCar aims to prevent drivers from making a profit while aiming to save drivers’ travel costs. BlaBlaCar recommends an average cost contribution per seat, taking into account fuel and vehicle costs for the route to the driver. BlaBlaCar members do not profit from travel sharing, but only share travel expenses.
  • In accordance with the BlaBlaCar business model rules; that performing of the journey by private vehicle, that the driver sharing the journey does not make a profit and only need to share costs that the carriage by private vehicles shall not consider within the scope of the Road Transport Law and secondary legislation; therefore, participation in travel sharing and travel costs should not be considered as commercial activity.

[1] Non-offical translation