Act on Transport Services to cover the entire transport system
The Act on Transport Services will bring together legislation on transport markets. The aim of the legislative reform is to provide the users with better transport services and to increase freedom of choice in the transport market. The Act will allow the provision of new type of smooth travel chains consisting of different transport modes.
The Act will be drafted in three phases. The Government proposed on 26 April 2018 that the second phase amendments to the Act on Transport Services be adopted. The amendments will enter into force on 1 July 2018.
“The basis of this legislative package is to enable flexible and consumer friendly provision of different mobility services regardless of the mode of transport. This requires advanced legislation but also cooperation between different actors and opening and utilisation of data. From the beginning of July, it will be possible to create these new type of business models,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner.
In the first stage, provisions on road transport were brought together, while in this second stage, provisions on air, maritime and rail transport markets and on the qualifications of transport personnel will be included in the Act. Further steps have been taken in the process of opening data.
The reform implements the government key projects for building a digital growth environment and streamlining regulations.
Opening of data plays a central role
To be able to serve the consumers better, data possessed by the service providers will have to be opened to competitors too. This will be carried out through the so-called open interfaces, which is technologically advanced, cost-effective and information secure. However, due to reasons of information security, data must be in a format that cannot be linked to individual users, service providers or services.
Provision of travel chains and combined services will be eased by enabling acting on behalf of the customer. This means that the consumer will be able to take use of the serial or seasonal products, other discounts or loyal customer benefits of one service provider also when purchasing services from another service provider. This will increase the consumer’s freedom of choice and selection of available services as the benefits and lower prices will accompany the consumer. The opportunity to act on behalf of the customer will make it easier to develop inexpensive travel chains.
Registers are combined
Viewed from the international perspective, in Finland the authorities’ registers are very precise and exhaustive, and better utilisation of them could be a significant competitive factor. Reform of the regulation on transport registers strengthens the possibilities of those in the register to use their own data as they wish. The purpose is also to enable even better data-based mobility services. The reform will improve the official and service activities of the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, Trafi.
The reform means considerable deregulation, as about ten current registers relating to transport and the separate laws concerning them will be consolidated to form one integrated register of transport affairs that will contain data on operator permits, transport vehicles and personal licences such as professional qualifications.
Transport markets into the same law
Trafi's role as the licensing and supervisory authority will be strengthened. Trafi will in future grant licences for air, rail and road traffic operators. In maritime transport, where engaging in transport is otherwise free, Trafi grants cabotage transport permits to foreign operators. In aviation, national licensing processes will be eased slightly.
Provisions on engaging in urban rail traffic will also be transferred from the Urban Railway Traffic Act to the Act on Transport Services. This way the transport system as a whole will be covered.
Road traffic licences are already included in the Act on Transport Services, but in this second stage the provisions on international combined transports, social legislation of road traffic, entrepreneur drivers’ working hours and traffic monitoring devices will be transferred to the Act.
Regulations on transport personnel are brought together in the Act on Transport Services
All requirements concerning the professional qualifications of transport personnel and the related training have been brought together in the Act on Transport Services. The most significant changes concern railway traffic and maritime transport.
In rail traffic, personnel qualification requirements focus in future only on engine drivers, and other traffic safety tasks of the railway system will be administered by operators’ safety management system.
In maritime transport, seafarers’ professional qualifications are prescribed in international conventions; national provisions based on these have been transferred to the Act on Transport Services. The training system will be developed in line with international requirements. Approval of maritime training organisers and the training given will be adopted; Trafi will be responsible for this.
The recognised medical practitioner system for transport will be reformed by bringing together the provisions of all modes of transport. In this respect as well, Trafi acts as the licensing and supervisory authority. Changes have been made concerning railway doctors, railway psychologists and doctors for seafarers. With regard to the railway, the system has been simplified in line with the model followed in aviation. Administration of the recognised medical practitioner system for seafarers will be transferred from the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) to Trafi.
The provisions on professional competence for lorry, bus and coach drivers will also be transferred to the Act on Transport Services. The current model, where professional driving competence is achieved by participating in a specified form of training, will be retained. The framework will be reviewed in the third stage of the Act.
The first phase of the Act on Transport Services will enter into force mainly on 1 July 2018. The provisions on the interoperability of data and information systems entered into force already on 1 January 2018.
The second stage of the Act on Transport Services will enter into force on 1 July 2018, but the provision on acting on behalf of the customer will enter into force on 1 January 2019.
Preparations for the third stage of the Act have been started and the intention is to submit a proposal to Parliament in the autumn session.
Laura Eiro, Director of Markets Unit, tel. +358 295 34 2668, Twitter @EiroLaura
Päivi Antikainen, Director of Data Business Unit, tel. +358 295 34 2101, Twitter @PaiviAntikainen