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MPs greenlight deregulation of taxi sector

MPs voted Wednesday to approve a government proposal to open up the taxi sector to competition, despite some pushback from members of the opposition.

Taksikuskit ruuhkauttivat liikenteen Helsingin Asema-aukiolla mielenosoituksessaan tiistaina 18. huhtikuuta.
Taxi drivers blocked the streets around Helsinki's Central Railway Station during their protest on Tuesday. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

Finnish lawmakers passed legislation to liberalise the taxi industry on Wednesday. One of the main goals of the bill tabled by government was to promote interoperable services that would allow providers to offer commuters transport chains linking different services.

It also proposed loosening the regulations governing transport services in a bid to encourage new service providers to enter the market.

However the impact of the draft legislation in opening up the taxi industry to greater competition stole the show - more so, as taxi drivers converged on Helsinki on Tuesday afternoon to protest the measure.

Cabbies attempt to stall measure

Cab drivers were concerned that the bill would slacken pricing and station regulation, lower the minimum education requirements for taxi entrepreneurship, and lead to over-supply in the sector.

Moreover, junior government partner, the Finns Party, also expressed reservations about deregulating the taxi sector.

As a result, the bill was amended in Parliament to introduce additional requirements for obtaining a taxi driver’s license that were not present in the government’s original draft.

During the debate, MPs also called attention to the pricing of taxi services, use of taxi metres, the obligation to provide a receipt and the need to ensure availability of service for limited-mobility patrons.

MPs also voted to include three measures that focused on defining professional or commercial transportation, the effectiveness of regulatory oversight and monitoring of the law’s effects.

The new legislation is due to come into force at the beginning of July 2018.

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