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Transport minister mulls adjustments to taxi sector reforms

Last year's reforms deregulated and introduced a competitive market to the once heavily regulated industry.

Liikenne- ja viestintäministeri Sanna Marin
Finland's Minister of Transport and Communications Sanna Marin. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto

Reforms made to laws regulating Finland's taxi industry have led to higher prices and other problems, according to Minister of Transport and Communications, Sanna Marin.

Marin said the taxi reforms rolled out last year have led to justified criticism, making the comments on Yle's morning television show AamuTV on Wednesday.

"The law has worsened [people's] access to taxis, the prices have gone up and there have been big problems with Kela taxi rides," Marin said, referring to taxi journeys provided by the country's Social Service Institution.

"There are also question about the grey economy and people's safety," she continued.

Last July, Finland rolled out broad reforms to the taxi sector, which deregulated the once heavily regulated industry.

The reforms, carried out under then-PM Juha Sipilä and transport minister Anne Berner, were among the previous administration's most controversial efforts.

Last summer's changes re-introduced a number of new players in the taxi sector, including ones like ride sharing firm Uber, which was temporarily banned from operating in Finland.

Now, the newly-elected PM Antti Rinne administration has said that the reforms need alterations in order to improve safety and to combat the grey economy.

Work already started

On Wednesday, Marin said that government is re-examining taxi laws on the books and looking to make adjustments where possible.

"The work has already begun and the topic has been clearly stated in the government programme," she said.

The Taxi Drivers Association recently suggested that all taxis should be fitted with obligatory taxi fare meters, which would enable tax authorities to clearly see information about every paid trip.

"[Making taxi meters obligatory] could be a part of a larger whole, but I cannot yet say which area of taxi regulation would be most important because we have not begun preparations," Marin said.

The Rinne administration's government programme also noted that Kela's paid taxi scheme needs to be re-examined.

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