Who benefits from Finland's taxi reform?

The Finnish government on Tuesday presented its proposal for a reform of the taxi sector. Fixed fares will be abolished in the future, however taxi drivers must still have a business licence - meaning that ride share providers like UberPop will remain barred from doing business. While some commentators are happy that the reform will lower taxi prices, others see precisely that as a problem.

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Etelä-Suomen Sanoma (FI) /

At last cheaper taxi fares

The new Finnish taxi legislation is another step forward in the renewal of Finland's transport sector, Etelä-Suomen Sanomat comments approvingly:

“The reform of the transport system is one of the government's top projects. It wants to deregulate the transport industry and press ahead with digitisation and entrepreneurship. … In the bus sector, deregulation and the launch of new companies has boosted competition and led to a marked decrease in prices. The same is expected to happen in the taxi sector. … The reform doesn't take effect until July 2018. This gives companies time to adjust to the changes but also puts a brake on the market launch of companies like Uber, which in turn runs counter to the goal of the reform as a whole, namely to promote entrepreneurship. But this is probably the price to be paid for all the governing parties accepting the reform.”

Kaleva (FI) /

Rural regions left out

The Finnish government's taxi reform fails to address one important aspect, Kaleva points out:

“If the taxi business becomes less profitable in thinly populated areas, this will create uncertainty there. … It was precisely to bolster the taxi industry in such regions that the ministry initially proposed allowing drivers to provide taxi services up to a turnover of 10,000 euros per year without being required to obtain a taxi license. This would have given drivers in the region the chance to earn extra income on the side. However, this part of the plan was watered down due to fierce opposition [from within the coalition parties]. So the reform doesn't go all the way. In some places taxi services will only deteriorate and alternative transport services are not permitted.”