Transport Code progresses, a solution found
Transport market regulations will be brought together in a unified act, the Transport Code. Its key aim is to create the preconditions for customer-oriented provision of transport services and digitalisation in transport, and the preconditions for new business models and entrepreneurship. The Transport Code promotes fairness of competition in the passenger transport market and the competitiveness of the service providers of both passenger and goods transport.
The Government has found a solution to the legislative proposal for the Transport Code. The Government proposal will be submitted to Parliament on 22 September.
The Transport Code would enter into force on 1 July 2018. This will allow current operators in the sector enough time to adapt their operations to comply with the new legislation.
Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications, is pleased that the Transport Code can now be submitted to Parliament in a form that applies to all operators in the passenger transport market.
“Now we have a genuine opportunity to improve transport services and also to create new business and jobs. All operators have equal possibilities to develop their operation. The progress made by the Transport Code is good news not only for the transport sector but also for the whole society,” says Minister Berner.
The Transport Code will bring together and renew provisions on the transport of passengers and goods. The proposal will change the current state, in which the transport market is strictly regulated and guided by public measures. The Transport Code creates the framework for organising publicly subsidised passenger transportations more efficiently e.g. by taking advantage of digitalisation, combining transportations and different types of equipment. The objective set in the Government Programme is to achieve a 10% saving in publicly subsidised passenger transportation from 2017.
The proposal implements the Government’s key projects of creating a growth environment for digital business and improving legal provisions. The Transport Code also facilitates meeting environmental and climate targets by improving the efficiency of transportations.
Taxis to be included in the public transport market
The Transport Code facilitates entering the taxi sector and increases the freedom of taxi operators to develop their operation. The proposal would bring about essential changes in the taxi system.
The aim is to create more versatile business and services in the sector, increase employment in the sector and make more services available especially in the countryside by relaxing regulation and facilitating access to the sector.
As taxi quotas would be given up, any operator that fulfils the conditions for a licence laid down in the act could offer taxi services in future. A taxi licence would be company-specific, and drivers would also need a taxi driver licence.
Taxis would continue to have a defined principal zone of operation. The operators would be required to register their zone of operation and hours of providing service i.e. their principal operating area and hours of service. However, after the reform, a taxi could remain waiting for passengers also outside its zone of operation, and taxis from other localities can come and help when demand is high in another locality.
The holder of the taxi licence would have to have an office in Finland. Taxi drivers should possess sufficient interaction and language skills and be capable of assisting special needs groups. Drivers would need a taxi driver licence, which would still be granted by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, Trafi. The taxi driver licence would be valid for five years at a time.
The regulation of taxi prices would be discontinued and the markets would determine the prices in future. If necessary, Trafi could determine maximum prices if prices began to rise unreasonably. In addition, Trafi would have a duty to monitor the impact of the reform on the market situation.
The draft proposal for the Transport Code sent for comments suggested that small-scale transport services producing an annual turnover of less than EUR 10,000 would be permitted without a licence. This suggestion was given up after the circulation for comments. According to the proposal for the Transport Code, the requirement for a licence would also apply to small-scale operation carried out in order to earn an income as it does currently.
Open data interfaces make new services possible
The Transport Code will significantly enhance the implementation of new technology, digitalisation and new business concepts, and will make uniform and mobile travel chains possible.
Future transport will rely on the interoperability of information and information systems, as well as the openness of interfaces. The Transport Code proposes that essential data on transport services are made open. The Transport Code also lays down provisions for the interoperability of ticket and payment systems.
This would make transport services as widely accessible as possible for everyone and also facilitate combining the services appropriately.
The Transport Code will be implemented in three stages due to its broad-based content.
Olli-Pekka Rantala, Director-General, Data Department, tel. +358 295 34 2585, Twitter @op_rantala
Laura Eiro, Director of Markets Unit, tel. +358 295 34 2668, Twitter @EiroLaura
Laura Vilkkonen, Director-General (open data, data interoperability), tel. +358 295 34 2391, Twitter @vilkkonen