This article first appeared on eDelivey.net. We thank eDelivery's staff and its editor Sean Fleming for asking us to guest write on such an amazing and respected website/magazine.
Italy is trying to solve the sharing economy riddle and it’s going to be a long, meandering guessing game, writes Adamo Dagradi, head of communications and social media at Milkman Deliveries, the Milan and Verona based delivery and last mile specialist.
Ignoring this highly disruptive model it’s not an option but correctly positioning it among the labyrinthine italian bureaucracy and its multi-layered, almost nonsensical legal system, will soon become a nightmare.
The problem is: an hyper-regulated sharing economy risks to be defrauded of its own innovative power. On the other hand an unregulated sharing economy may well become a virtual earthquake. Yes: you will build anew upon the rubble, but what about the victims?
Last week a group of italian politicians came up with the proposal for a law.
The main points are these:
- Those who work inside the model cannot earn more than €10.000 per year, with very low taxes (10%). If they earn more: option A) they’ll need to be contractualized; option B) they’ll be charged up to 40% in taxes on earnings superior to €10.000.
- No cash money can be exchanged in sharing economy deals.
- Every firm who wants to operate in the sharing economy sector will have to compile a document that has to be approved by a board. This board will decide if the firm is eligible to be inscribed in an official “sharing economy providers” roster.
- Platform who provide sharing economy deals cannot monitor its operators nor impose fixed tariffs for the use of the provided services.
All these technicalities and the fact that italians are naturally over-suspicious about novelties have made it hard, for Transport & Logistics Startups who want to rely on sharing economy, to bloom as they’re doing in other EU Countries.
Here’s a list of some of those who are faring a little better than the others (be advised, some are still very embryonal services):
Zego: operative in Milan, Turin, Genoa and Padua. A smart way to avoid the laws that stopped Uber (you cannot fault italians about their creativity when it comes to circumnavigate rules…): it’s a carpooling service that differs from taxis because: you have to specify a starting and an arrival point (this way the driver who picks you up may say that he was travelling that road anyway); you can pay online and Zego will keep part of the fee and then give what remains to the driver; there’s no fixed tariff, instead you get a “recommended refund”.
Getstrappo does pretty much the same thing in the city of Viareggio.
Goocar and Zemove are services that let users rent their cars to other users, the first appears to be in stealth mode and the second uses only electric cars and only in the township of Lecce.
Viaggiainsieme, Roadsharing, Flootta, Drivebook, Carpooling, Autoincomune and Autostrade Carpooling: are more straightforward carpooling options, all derived from the internationally successful BlaBlaCar.
iCarry offers in-town parcel delivery and has just started operations: you post your order (from, to, weight, dimensions) and get a list of operators who are willing to transport the parcel (their fee, photo, bio and feedback). Here in Verona it appears we have 13 operators. Tried to make a test delivery for a very short route (fee was €3.50) but the guy answered hours after end-time, writing he wasn’t available.
TocTocBox does the same but seems to work on a wider scale (from city to city). Problem is they shouldn’t carry parcels on cars or vans without a transport license. Payment on cash (also another problem).
Takemythings is pretty much the same, with emphasis on commuting workers or students bringing “forgotten” objects to their legitimate owners.
Asapp, again, the same, but only for those who commute on trains (so no law is broken).
Supermercato24 brings you groceries and fresh produce by having operators shop for you in local supermarkets. Right now is the most successful italian sharing economy Startup.
PonyU offers crowdsourced deliveries by bicycle.
The major issue with some of these services is that unmonitored operators are not obligated to provide the service (and by law they won’t be in the future), and there’s no way to know if they’re “active” or on “break”. So waiting times, uncertainty and the number of unanswered offers are still quite excruciating for those who want to send stuff or get a ride.
It’s the very beginning of a long, treacherous road.dev.