Changes at the turn of the year in the administrative branch of the Ministry of Transport and Communications
Data provisions in the Act on Transport Services brought into force
The Act on Transport Services brings together legislation on transport markets and creates conditions for digitalisation and new business models in transport. Its key objective is the provision of customer-oriented transport services.
The provisions on the interoperability of data and information systems will enter into force on 1 January 2018. Other parts of the Act will enter into force on 1 July 2018.
The Act will make the essential data on mobility services available to all. Operators who offer passenger mobility services must be able to provide the essential information on routes, stops, timetables, prices, accessibility and availability related to their services. This information must be provided through an open interface and in default format that is computer-readable. Interfaces must be provided to all actors under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Provisions concerning the data to be opened have been issued in Government Decree on essential data on mobility services (643/2017). The Decree will also enter into force at the turn of the year.
The Finnish Transport Agency must provide small operators with the use of a technical service through which they can alternatively provide the information.
The Act will also lay down provisions for the interoperability of ticket and payment systems. A road and rail passenger transport operator must open the sales interface of its ticket and payment system to other mobility service providers so that passengers can use it to buy a single trip ticket. The aim is to provide the passenger with door-to-door travel chains. However, small, local companies are allowed to deviate from the obligation to open their interface.
The second stage of the Act on Transport Services is currently under discussion in Parliament. It continues the process of opening up data on mobility services and facilitating the provision of travel chains and integrated services.
Halving of fairway dues and removal of rail goods transport tax will remain in force for 2018
The suspension of the rail goods transport tax and the halving of fairway dues will be continued until the end of 2018.
The unit price and maximum amount of a fairway due per port call were halved for 2015-2017. Rail tax on electrified and diesel goods transport was also suspended for 2015-2017. These decisions were made in autumn 2014.
The aim of lowering the fairway dues and suspending the rail goods transport tax is to reduce the costs of business and industry.
The lower fairway due will result in cost savings of around EUR 40 million for vessel transport and through that for business and industry in comparison to a situation where the fairway dues were paid in full. Suspension of the rail goods transport tax in 2015-2017 has lowered the costs of railway transport by around 5-10 per cent, which has been reflected overall in rail transport prices.
Scrapping incentive and support for electric car purchase and car conversions
A fixed-term act on the scrapping incentive scheme and on support for acquiring electric cars and converting passenger cars to run on gas or ethanol will enter into force on 1 January 2018. A private person can be provided a refund through the scrapping incentive or the support scheme for acquiring a new, lower-emission car or for converting an old car into a gas or ethanol-powered vehicle.
The Act will remain in force until 31 December 2021. However, the scrapping incentive scheme will be in use until 31 August 2018 only.
The amount of the scrapping premium will be EUR 1,000-2,000 depending on the power source and carbon dioxide emissions of the car to be purchased. The premium will be paid to a buyer of a new car as a reduction of the sales price of the car. In addition, the car industry, if they wish, can take part in the scrapping incentive scheme by providing a further reduction in the price of a new car. A passenger car intended for scrapping must be at least 10 years old and in use on the road for the past calendar year and at the time when it is taken for scrapping. A further requirement is that the person to whom the premium is to be paid has owned the car for the past 12 consecutive months.
In 2018-2021, a purchase support of EUR 2,000 will be provided for buying a full-electric car or leasing one for a long term. A private person can also receive support for converting a passenger car to run on gas or ethanol. The support scheme will be in force in 2018-2021.
The organisation responsible for granting the support will be the Finnish Transport Safety Agency.
Discounts to fees charged by Trafi
In the beginning of 2018, reductions will be introduced in the fees charged by Trafi. They will mostly affect vehicle registration services. Their prices will be reduced by around 15 per cent.
The price of customised registration plates will drop from EUR 850 to 750. The new price for a licence for temporary transfer or use of a vehicle will be EUR 13 instead of EUR 16.
Transport of packaged dangerous goods in the Baltic Sea
From the beginning of 2018 a government decree will come into effect that will bring into force a Memorandum of Understanding on transport of packaged dangerous goods on ro-ro vessels in the Baltic Sea. Along with the renewed Memorandum, certain regulations concerning transport of dangerous goods by road and rail can be applied to general cargo and tank vehicle transports in the Baltic Sea. The Memorandum contributes to the functionality of the logistics chain between the countries around the Baltic Sea.