Finland deregulates its taxi industry
Finland is deregulating its taxi sector as of July 1. Restrictions on fare prices will no longer apply and it will be easier to obtain a licence to drive a taxi. The so-called "compulsory service areas" which taxi drivers were obliged to serve to ensure transport for remote areas will also be eliminated. Finland's press is cautiously optimistic about the reform.
Risks and opportunities for rural areas
Savon Sanomat looks at the consequences the liberalisation will have in rural areas:
“In small communities where public transport has been cut back, taxis are a vital basic service. Abolishing mandatory service areas could lead taxi companies to stop servicing less busy village streets unless the state intervenes. However, communities can and should continue to pay for on-call service. Apart from the risks, however, the liberalisation also provides opportunities to improve service. ... There will be fewer obstacles to working as a taxi driver, so more people will be able to work as drivers on the side, also in rural areas.”
Passenger security must not suffer
The consequences of the reform must be kept in mind, Turun Sanomat stresses:
“The strict regulation of passenger transport has more disadvantages than benefits and is expensive for customers. ... But despite its drawbacks, the current taxi system also has positive aspects. As a rule, customers can be sure of the drivers' qualifications, the quality of the vehicles and that the journey will be safe. The only times when there haven't been enough taxis was when huge events were taking place, or on public holidays like May 1 or New Year's Eve. For that reason it's important to keep a close eye on how the reform is implemented. Customers must be able to rely on the quality and security of the service.”