null Project launched to amend taxi service legislation – assessment memorandum on taxi reports sent out for comments

Project launched to amend taxi service legislation – assessment memorandum on taxi reports sent out for comments

Press release 03.02.2020 12.43 fi sv en

Taxis on the street in Helsinki (Photo: Aleksei Andreev, Shutterstock)

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has sent out for comments an assessment memorandum on taxi services drawn up by agencies in the Ministry's administrative branch. Based on the memorandum and statements, taxi regulation has increased uncertainty and a series of corrections will now be introduced. On 28 January 2020, Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka launched a project to amend the legislation on taxi services.

In accordance with the memorandum, the taxi services market is in a transition stage, in which operators are looking for new business models and customers are getting accustomed to the change. The new legislation has also required the authorities to adopt new practices. In addition, the change in the competitive and contractual practices of transport service procurements by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, which took place at the same time with the reform, also increased the uncertainty experienced by operators and customers in the sector.

Legislative project to rectify shortcomings

According to the memorandum, deregulation improved the provision of new types of services, which was one of the objectives of the Act on Transport Services. However, at the same time, the uncertainty increased.

“There is a need for corrective measures, because for many people taxis are an important, often even the only possible, means of transport. That is why the uncertainty about the service should be eliminated. We also want to prevent unwelcome activities in the sector,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.

“In accordance with the Government Programme, the legislative project will address issues relating to the safety, quality, availability and pricing of taxi services and the role of brokering centres. We will also focus on combating the shadow economy in the taxi services sector,” Minister Harakka says.

The purpose of the memorandum is to provide the legislative project with information on the need for regulatory changes. It does not set concrete objectives or present detailed proposals for solutions but outlines ways of solving the problems raised in the reports.

The changes in the regulation of taxi services were part of the comprehensive reform of the transport market legislation; the main parts of the Act on Transport Services entered into force on 1 July 2018. One of the key objectives of the Act is to increase the digitalisation in the transport sector and provide a favourable environment for new types of customer-oriented services. Among other things, the Act provided taxi service operators with the opportunity to decide on the scope of their activities and the area, time and pricing of their operations.

In summer 2019, the Minister of Transport and Communications Sanna Marin requested the Transport and Communications Agency, Competition and Consumer Authority and the Tax Administration to assess the functioning of taxi regulation.

What next?

The deadline for commenting the memorandum is 21 February 2020. The request for comments is available online at www.lausuntopalvelu.fi.

Following the consultation round, the preparations for the legislative amendments will continue within the legislative project. The amendments are planned to take effect as of the beginning of 2021.

The Ministry will arrange an open hearing on the functioning of taxi regulation on 10 February 2020. A live webcast of the event will be available at www.lvm.fi.

Inquiries:

Olli-Pekka Rantala, Director General, tel. +358 295 34 2585, Twitter @op_rantala

Requests to interview Minister Harakka: Matti Sadeniemi, tel. +358 40 586 7234