null Shortcomings in taxi regulation to be corrected

Shortcomings in taxi regulation to be corrected

Press release 11.06.2020 10.07 fi sv en

The Ministry of Transport and Communications invites comments on proposals related to correcting the shortcomings in taxi regulation. The aims of the proposals are to improve the safety of taxi operations, combat the grey economy and increase the transparency of pricing. A further objective is to provide the authorities with better opportunities to receive information on the current availability of taxi services.

The deadline for commenting the government proposal is 9 July 2020.

Entrepreneurial training to be a requirement for a taxi licence

In order to receive a taxi licence, an applicant would have to complete an entrepreneurial training course and pass an exam. In order to keep their licences, taxi entrepreneurs who have received their licence after 1 July 2018 and have not completed entrepreneurial training in accordance with the previous act, should take part in a new training course or pass the entrepreneur test indicating that they master the information of the training.

In addition, the applicant for a taxi licence should possess a business identity code already before the licence is issued and not just in the initial phase of the operations. The taxi licence holders without a business identity code should acquire one within six months of the entry into force of the Act. The amendments aim to combat the grey economy.

In order to facilitate supervision, both the taxi entrepreneur and the driver should, according to the draft proposal, ensure that a taxi licence or a copy of the licence always accompanies a taxi. The driver should also ensure that the name and contact details of the licence holder and the driver's name are available to the passenger. A fee for a traffic violation could be imposed on the driver for breaching the obligations.

Taxi service operators and brokering service providers should inform the authorities of their services and the actual demand in more detail than before. This would provide the authorities with better opportunities to receive information on the current availability of taxi services.

Easily recognisable and transparent service for the customer

According to the draft proposal, a taximeter or another similar device or system should be used in all taxis. The taximeter should be in use when the pricing is based on measuring the distance or time of the journey. Otherwise, the taxi should use another device or system that collects or stores the minimum information required for fiscal control specified in the Act. It would be obligatory to collect the same minimum data in electronic form of all taxi rides, regardless of the device used for the collection, the nature of the journey or the method of payment. The aims of the amendments are to promote customer access to information on the journey and to combat the grey economy.

In order to make it easier to recognise taxis, an illuminated taxi sign would be obligatory whenever the vehicle is used as a taxi.

The proposals also aim at improving the transparency of pricing.A specific pricing structure should be used when taking a taxi from the street or a taxi rank. The price of an example journey of 10 km/15 minutes should be presented outside the taxi or the journey should be offered for a fixed price. The regulation of the pricing structure makes it easier to compare the taxi fares.

The requirements set out in the draft proposal for taxi entrepreneurs support the combat against the grey economy and provide citizens with better access to safe and transparent services.

Driver test to be improved, Act to include driver training focusing on special groups

The aim is to improve the obligatory taxi driver test so that the needs of special groups be better taken into account. In the test, more emphasis would be laid on issues assessing professional competence when assisting and ensuring the safety of passengers and taking into account the special needs of different passenger groups. Customer service situations and assessment of elements affecting transport safety would also be stressed. In addition, administrative sanctions are proposed for anyone found guilty of cheating in the test.

In addition to the mandatory driver test, the drivers could take part in new, voluntary training on working with special groups. By carrying out the voluntary training, the driver could prove to have acquired the competence, which is more comprehensive than the basic skills of a taxi driver, needed to serve special groups . The purpose of the standard in training drivers to serve special groups would be to achieve a uniform level of training that would be defined in the Act, which could also be utilised in the quality requirements for competitive tendering in public procurement.

What is the purpose of the amendments?

The preparations for the amendments are included in the Government Programme. The new Act on Transport Services entered into force on 1 July 2018. In taxi transport, it meant easier access to the sector. The quotas for taxi licences were abolished, and taxi entrepreneurs were no longer required to complete entrepreneurial training. The system of maximum prices for taxi rides was no longer applied and pricing was not regulated. The requirements imposed on drivers were also eased.

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.

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. Consumer confidence in the quality of the service deteriorated and it was considered difficult to understand the pricing structure and compare the prices. The aim of the legislative amendments is to restore confidence in the taxi services and to enhance the work against the grey economy.

The legislative project to rectify the shortcomings was launched on 28 January 2020.

What are the next steps?

The deadline for comments on the draft bill is 9 July 2020. All organisations and private individuals may submit comments online at www.lausuntopalvelu.fi. Following the consultation round, the preparations of the proposal will continue by Ministry officials.

More information on the project is available on the Government web service www.valtioneuvosto.fi/hankkeet (projects and legislation).

Inquiries

Hanna Laurila, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 342 025

Elina Thorström, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 342 393