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700 new taxi permit applications as industry opens up in Finland

The transport safety agency says it has received a deluge of new taxi permit applications since the start of liberalisation of the taxi industry from 1 July.

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A taxi queue at Helsinki-Vantaa airport on Monday 2 July. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

The Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi says it received 700 online applications for permits to operate taxis on Sunday, the first day that new laws opening up the local taxi industry took effect.

Trafi department manager Kimmo Pylvää said that there have been few hiccups so far.

“People have been able to find and complete the online forms quite well. Surprisingly few have had problems” he noted.

The agency said that it will grant the first set of taxi permits on Monday. Once an application is approved, the customer will receive an email notification and can immediately begin plying the trade, without waiting for a printed permit in the mail.

“We will deal with the applications as quickly as we can.”

Pylvää said that the agency had received more applications than expected.

“This has been a positive surprise and the idea of this transport service has been well-executed, so that new opportunities and entrepreneurs will enter the field,” he added.

Deregulation brings many changes

In addition to the permit to operate a taxi as a business, entrepreneurs must also have a taxi driver’s license, while the vehicle to be used must be appropriately registered for use as a taxi.

The new legislation transferred responsibility for traffic permit matters from local centres for economic development, transport and the environment (ely-keskus) to Trafi.

Deregulation of the industry will introduce changes to fares and pricing criteria as well as the methods for ordering cabs . Former regulations on maximum fares, cars and drivers will also become a thing of the past. 

 Authorities expect 90 percent of future taxi orders in Finland to take place via a variety of mobile phone apps, which means the notorious early-morning taxi queues in downtown Helsinki may soon become a relic.

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