Taxi regulations are set to change in Finland soon, with the aim of ending what Minister of Transport Timo Harakka sees as a lack of customer confidence in the safety of the service.
"The aim of the corrections to taxi regulation is to return the customers' trust in safe taxi services and the entrepreneurs' trust in the future of the sector," Minister Harakka says.
According to the Ministry of Transport, the new regulation will come into force in two phases, in order to allow professionals and companies to adapt to new changes.
The legislative amendments included in a series of corrections introduced to the taxi regulation will enter into force mainly on 1 May. Other amendments on pricing and equipment, including taximeters, will come into force on 1 September.
"The variation in the dates of the entry into force allows the taxi operators to make the necessary changes required in the amendments," the Ministry says.
One of the reforms affects access to the profession of taxi driver. The topics and the minimum content of the questions in the taxi driver exam will be defined in more detail "to better ensure the safety of passengers and the high standard of working with special groups," the government says.
In order to improve their expertise, in future taxi drivers will be able to attend a voluntary driver training for the provision of taxi services to special groups. The training can also be taken into account in public procurement for taxi transport services.
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 and the price of an example journey should be presented. In determining the price, a taximeter in accordance with the Measuring Instruments Act should be used.
If, on the basis of price monitoring, the Transport and Communications Agency Traficom considers the prices for the additional services of special groups to be unreasonable, it can set a maximum price for them.
Entrepreneurs will be required to provide a business ID already at the time they receive a taxi transport licence. In future, the requirements for a taxi transport licence will include an obligation to complete entrepreneurial training and the related examination. The drivers who already have a taxi transport licence must meet the legal requirements during a transition period.
In order to improve supervision, a taxi transport licence or a copy of it must always be kept in the vehicle. The driver's responsibility for the documents and information that must be kept in the vehicle has also been increased, and a fee for a traffic violation can be imposed on the driver for a breach of the obligations.
An illuminated taxi sign will be mandatory, except for certain business and PR journeys. In order to support tax supervision, electronic data determined in legislation should be collected on all taxi journeys.
Taxi service operators and brokering service providers should inform the authorities of the prices.
In the future, a taxi transport licence will not be required for transport included in the service package of household service providers and tourism service companies. It is further 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.