Numerous amendments proposed to taxi legislation
The Government has proposed a number of amendments to the legislation on taxi services. Amendments have been proposed to the Act on Transport Services, the Vehicle Act and the Road Transport Act. The aim of the changes is to provide reliable taxi services to all customers.
The Government submitted its proposal to Parliament on 15 October 2020.
In accordance with the Government Programme, the aim of the proposal is to correct any shortcomings observed in taxi operations that are related in particular to safety, combating the grey economy, transparency of pricing, and the availability of taxis. With regard to availability, the aim is specifically to make it easier for authorities to form a situational picture on the availability of taxi services.
“The purpose of this repair kit for tax regulations is to restore trust among both customers and taxi operators. Taxis are an important mode of transport for many, which is why the uncertainty concerning the service must be eliminated,” says Timo Harakka, Minister of Transport and Communications.
A more clearly outlined test for drivers and a new voluntary training for the provision of taxi services to special groups
In order to improve the quality and safety of taxi services, the legislative proposal draws attention to the professional skills required of taxi drivers.
Taxi drivers would be required to take a test, the content and organisation of which have now been specified. The objective of the change is to ensure that the in the future the test will better be able to assess the basic skills of drivers entering the sector and their ability to provide taxi services to various customer groups. If any cheating on a test was observed this would lead to the immediate interruption of the test and the driver would be prohibited from retaking the taxi driver test for the following six month period.
In order to supplement their competence, taxi drivers could complete voluntary training for the provision of taxi services to special groups defined by law, during which the driver has the opportunity to receive training on how to work safely with customers belonging to special groups. The driver training defined in legislation could also be utilised as a requirement for publicly procured transports.
Transparency in pricing and more effective supervision of the grey economy
The legislative proposal harmonises the obligations perceiving the pricing of taxi services, so it would be easier for customers to estimate the price of a taxi journey.
The price of the taxi journey or the basis for determining the price should continue to be indicated before the start of the journey. If the price of a journey is not fixed, a specific pricing structure should be used for pricing and the price of an example journey should be presented. A taximeter in accordance with the Measuring Instruments Directive should be used to determine the price. In the future, setting a maximum price would only be possible for additional services provided to special groups.
The Act on Transport Services would specify the information collected on all taxi journeys for tax control, which should be collected using a taximeter or other device or system in accordance with law and regulations. Entrepreneurs would be required to provide a business ID already at the time a taxi transport licence is being granted. The prerequisites for a taxi transport licence should include the obligation to complete entrepreneurial training and the related examination. The aim of the entrepreneur training and examination is to improve the financial and business skills of entrepreneurs entering the sector and to ensure that entrepreneurs possess sufficient basic competence to fulfil their business obligations.
In order to improve supervision, a taxi transport licence or a copy of it should always be kept in the vehicle. The driver's responsibility for the documents and information that must be kept in the vehicle would also be increased, and a traffic error fee could be imposed on the driver for the breach of the obligations.
In addition, taxi roof-top sign light would be mandatory with certain exceptions. The aim is to make it easier to identify taxis in traffic. This will improve, among other things, the supervision of taxi operations.
Situation picture of the availability of taxi services to be improved and licence requirement to be specified
Taxi companies and brokerage centres would in future also be obligated to provide information on pricing and to provide information on the supply and demand of services to authorities. The aim of this would be to improve the public authorities' situational awareness of the availability and prices of taxi services.
In the future, a taxi transport licence would not be required for transport included in the service package of home and tourism service companies. This would make it easier to provide transport services as part of a service package.
At the same time, it would be specified that a taxi transport licence is required for professional transport of persons by vehicles defined by law and for the provision of these services to the public. The amendments would not apply, for example, to carpooling arranged by private individuals with no intention of earning an income.
Amendments would enter into force gradually
The proposed amendments to the legislation on taxi services are, as a rule, scheduled to enter into force at the beginning of 2021. However, it is proposed that the entry into force of the amendments be staggered so that the legislative amendments concerning the pricing of taxi services and taximeters and other devices would not enter into force until 1 June 2021. The amendments to the Act on Transport Services also include transition periods in respect of the obligation to complete training and obtain a business ID.
Elina Thorström, Director of Unit tel. +358 40 507 4502
Hanna Laurila, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 50 401 4361
- Press release 31 July 2020:.Compilation of statements on taxi legislation published
- Press release 11 June 2020: Shortcomings in taxi regulation to be corrected