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Survey: Some taxi customers feel less safe since deregulation

Finland's new taxi law has made taxis feel less safe to some and a few months after the refoms rolled out, taxi ride prices around Helsinki grew by 14 percent.

Taksitolppa Kelan toimiston edustalla Helsingissä.
Overall, nearly nine out of 10 respondents were generally satisfied with the quality of taxi services Image: Mesut Turan / Lehtikuva

Customers' opinions are divided over the impact of a taxi deregulation that took effect last summer, according to poll results released by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) on Thursday.

Overall, nearly nine out of 10 respondents were generally satisfied with the quality of taxi services. Three quarters considered taxi availability to be good.

But people who use taxis often said that it has become more difficult to get hold of a taxi since the law was imposed last at the beginning of July. The Traficom survey was carried out in August and September, so the contrast between 'before and after' was fresh in people's minds.

Members of special groups who frequently use taxis, such as people with disabilities and others with limited mobility, said that both the feeling of safety in taxis and their availability had diminished. They also felt that drivers had less know-how about customer needs than before.

Customers generally considered taxis to be safe though, and 85 percent of respondents said that this had not changed significantly since the law took effect. In the Helsinki region, however, one fifth of respondents said that safety had worsened, with many expressing worry about being ripped off on pricing.

Fares dipped – then rose again

Taxi fares dropped after the legislation came onto the books, but clearly began to rise again in October.

Statistics Finland said in early November that the average fare level was seven percent higher than in June, just before the new law came online. In the Helsinki region, prices had leapt by 14 percent.

Traficom has now published price data for the last quarter of 2018, showing that in October fares were a national average of 3.6 percent higher than pre-reform.

According to the agency's figures, the biggest price jumps were in Kymenlaakso (9.2%), Uusimaa (7.7%), Kainuu (7.2%), Päijät-Häme (6.0%) and Pirkanmaa (3.3%).

On the other hand, fares dipped slightly in six regions, with the biggest decline of 2.3 percent in Kanta-Häme. Some these fluctuations were attributed to changes in pricing systems.

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