«REGULATORY SPECIALITIES IN THE FIELD OF TRANSPORT. OTHER LEGISLATIVE MEASURES ADOPTED THAT AFFECT PRIVATE CONTRACTING.«
1.- Specialties in the field of transport.
The main measures included in RD nº 463/2020, which declares the state of alarm for the management of the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19, and in various Ministerial Orders developing it, are the following
i.-) Public passenger transport services by road, rail, air and sea that are not subject to public contracts or public service obligations (PSOs): the total offer of operations is reduced by at least a 70%.
ii.-) Public passenger transport services by road, rail, air and sea that are subject to a public contract or PSO: they will reduce their total offer of operations by at least the following percentages:
Medium-distance rail services: 70%.
Medium-distance rail services-AVANT: 70%.
Regular road passenger services: 70%.
Air transport services subject to PSOs: 70%.
Maritime transport services subject to navigation contract: 70%.
Local rail services: 20% during peak hours and 50% during off-peak hours.
iii.-) Public passenger transport services by road, rail and sea under regional or local jurisdiction which are subject to a public contract or PSO, or are publicly owned, shall continue to offer transport, without prejudice to the fact that the competent authorities may establish a percentage reduction in services if the health situation so requires.
- ) Without detriment to the previously mentioned, specific criteria have also been established for transport between the Peninsula and non-peninsular territories, consisting basically of prohibition of commercial or private flights; prohibition of disembarkation in island ports, Ceuta and Melilla of passengers embarked on ro-ro passenger ships and passenger ships providing a regular service, originating in the peninsula – with the exception of the drivers of the rolling stock; prohibition of the entry into island ports of all vessels and recreational craft used for leisure or sports purposes or for hire by boat; prohibition of landing at all island airports of executive aviation, air taxi or similar operations.
v.-) Finally, with regard to the transport of goods, as measures to facilitate this throughout the national territory, the following are noteworthy:
-In the transport of goods by road, two persons are allowed in the cabin of the vehicle, when necessary due to the type of transport to be carried out.
-The opening of repair and maintenance workshops for motor vehicles is permitted, as well as establishments for related activities of sale of parts and accessories with direct sale to repair workshops, but without opening to the general public.
-Extension of the daily driving period is permitted provided that the requirements for breaks and for daily and weekly rest periods are met.
-Reduction of the weekly rest period from 45 hours to a continuous rest period of at least 24 hours, without compensation
-The driver is allowed to take his normal weekly rest in the vehicle, provided that the vehicle is properly equipped for each driver’s rest and is parked.
4.- Other approved legislative measures affecting private contracting.
These were introduced mainly through RD-L11/2020 of 31 March, which adopted additional urgent measures in the social and economic field to deal with the coronavirus health crisis that caused the declaration of the state of alarm, in addition to the extraordinary measures included in other Royal Decrees issued in the days immediately before, and which affect the same areas.
As the main measures adopted in private contracting headquarters, we can highlight the following:
1.- Extraordinary extension of the lease of a habitual residence for a maximum period of 6 months, upon request by the tenant. The lessor must accept this request for extraordinary extension, unless other terms or conditions are fixed by agreement between the parties.
2.- Measures to seek a moratorium on rental debt in favor of tenants of primary residences in a situation of economic vulnerability due to the COVID-19.
3.- Moratorium on mortgage debt and non-mortgage loans or credits held by people in a situation of vulnerability, including consumer credits. Temporary suspension of contractual obligations for a period of 3 months, extendable by agreement of the Council of Ministers.
4.- Guarantee of the supply of electrical energy, petroleum products, natural gas and water, while the state of alarm is in force, to consumers who are natural persons in their habitual residence. The period during which the state of alarm is in force will not be counted for the purposes of the periods between the reliable request for payment and the suspension of the supply due to non-payment established in the regulations in force or in the supply contracts, where applicable.
5.- Right to terminate contracts for the sale of goods or provision of services – including those of a successive nature – which are impossible to comply with. This right may be exercised for a period of 14 days.
In the case of contracts for the provision of successive services, the collection of new fees will be paralyzed until the service can be provided normally again, without this implying the termination of the contract.
6.- With regard to services provided by several suppliers, in the case, for example, of package tours, the consumer may choose to request a refund or make use of the voucher that will be provided by the organizer or, if applicable, the retailer. This voucher can be used within one year of the end of the alert state. If the voucher is not used during that period, the consumer may exercise the right of reimbursement.
7.- Flexibility in electricity supply contracts for the self-employed and companies, which may at any time temporarily suspend or modify their supply contracts, or the extensions of such contracts, in order to contract another alternative offer with the marketer with whom they have an existing contract, in order to adapt their contracts to their new consumption patterns, without any charge by way of penalty.
In these cases, it may also be requested by means that do not involve a physical displacement, the suspension of the payment of invoices corresponding to billing periods that contain days integrated in the alarm state, including all its billing concepts.
8.- Flexibility of natural gas supply contracts. The holder of the supply point may request from its marketer the modification of the daily flow contracted, the inclusion in a toll scale corresponding to a lower annual consumption or the temporary suspension of the supply contract at no cost to the holder. Modifications to contracts shall be made without any cost being passed on to the marketer or the consumer by distributors and transporters.
In this case, the self-employed and SMEs may also request the suspension of the payment of invoices corresponding to billing periods containing days integrated in the alarm state.
- – Finally, in the area of the telecommunications sector, it is established that the suspension of portability only affects those operations in which there is a need for users to physically travel to stores or to have physical interventions made in their homes, except in cases of force majeure. And to avoid that the consumer could be harmed by the suspension of the portability operations, it is established that users cannot see their rates increased during the time in which they cannot request a change of company.