Amendments to the Act on Transport Services and related acts
The Government proposes several amendments to the Act on Transport Services and related acts. Some of the amendments are of a technical nature. The temporary amendments would be introduced to prepare for incidents caused by the COVID-19 disease in maritime, public and taxi transport services.
The Government submitted its proposals to Parliament on 29 October 2020.
The aim of the proposals relating to the COVID-19 disease is to provide the authorities with a variety of means to act swiftly and efficiently to prevent the spread of the disease.
The preparedness obligation imposed on holders of a passenger or goods transport licence would be temporarily extended to include smaller operators, such as taxi service providers, and transport operators who have a maximum of 15 buses, vehicles or combinations of vehicles in use on the road. With regard to holders of a goods transport licence, the extension would only apply to those who are also engaged in passenger transport services.
The preparedness obligation would be conditional. The operators would have to be prepared for preventing the spread of the disease and ensure that all measures relating to the health of passengers are taken, if the epidemic so requires either at national or regional level.
According to the proposal, providers of passenger transport services should, during the COVID-19 epidemic, notify any changes in public transport services no later than five days before the implementation of the plan, instead of the normal 60 days.
In addition, the powers of the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency to issue orders on extending the validity of seafarers' certificates would be increased.
The other amendments proposed concern the professional qualifications of seafarers, information services in the area of mobility, public procurement, steering the allocation of public transport funding, and the national implementation of the Directive amending the Directives on the recognition of professional qualifications in inland navigation and on the minimum level of training of seafarers.
In future, the mobility service catalogue (National Access Point, NAP) could be maintained, provided and developed by Traffic Management Finland on behalf of the Transport and Communications Agency. The company would not, however, provide end user services as that would be the responsibility of the operators in the sector. They would also bring the services to the markets.
The amendments concerning public procurement aim to clarify the application of the Public Service Contract Regulation and the Procurement Act. In order to improve the efficiency of the use and monitoring of central government funding, it is proposed that the responsibilities related to payment, monitoring and claiming for recovery be transferred from the centres for economic development, transport and the environment to the Development and Administration Centre, which serves the centres for economic development, transport and the environment and the Employment and Economic Development Offices.
What are the next steps?
A referral debate on the government proposal now submitted to Parliament will be conducted in a Parliament plenary session. Information on the date of the session will be available on the Parliament website (plenary session agendas).
After the preliminary debate, the proposal will be taken to a Parliamentary Committee. After the Committee submits a report, the process will continue in a plenary session.
Katja Peltola, Senior Officer, tel. +358 50 530 2175
Sini Wirén, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 507 0916