Improvements to everyday mobility through Act on Transport Services
A favourable environment for digitalisation and new business models is being created through the Act on Transport Services. Its key objective is the provision of customer-oriented transport services. An essential element in achieving the targets is the opening up of data.
The Government submitted a proposal to Parliament on the third stage amendments to the Act on Transport Services on 27 September 2018. The first and second stages of the Act are already in force.
"From the beginning, the underlying principle of the Act has been to transform transport services into a comprehensive package and provide the users with flexibility and freedom of choice. Advanced transport services also help reduce emissions. The Act is an extensive set of measures that can be used in preparing for the future. It was finalised with this proposal," says Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner.
"The whole Mobility as a Service, MaaS, concept is a Finnish innovation that has been an international success. The Act on Transport Services enables the implementation of MaaS, and our advanced legislation has attracted a lot of interest in the EU and internationally. We are clearly a leader in this area," Minister Berner says.
Due to its wide-ranging contents, the Act has been carried out in three stages. It is part of the Government key projects on deregulation and on building a digital growth environment for businesses.
Flexibility to regulation on professional qualifications
In the third stage of the Act on Transport Services, the regulatory burden on professional qualifications in road and maritime transport will be reduced. It is suggested that there would be a test-based alternative to the training option when drivers of heavy vehicles acquire professional basic qualifications. The tests would measure the same skills as the training alternative. The aim is to ensure the availability of drivers.
The regulation on professional qualifications in maritime transport is proposed to be changed. It is proposed that the qualifications and manning requirements will not be applied to vessels of rescue departments, the police and Customs, if they are using a training system approved by the Transport Safety Agency.
It is also proposed that the coverage of the preparedness obligation be extended to include road transport operators. The goal is to ensure smooth flow of traffic also in emergency conditions. The preparedness obligation has already been secured in terms of railway, rail and air transport.
The proposal also aims to ease the shortage of taxi drivers. In order to ensure the availability of taxi services, the Act on Transport Services is proposed to be amended, at the request of the taxi industry, so that the section concerning knowledge of the local environment be excluded from the test for taxi drivers.
In addition, the numbering of the Act on Transport Services will be made consecutive according to the requirements of Parliament.
A referral debate on the Government's proposal submitted to Parliament will be conducted in a Parliament plenary session. Information on the date of the session will be available on Parliament's web site (plenary session agendas).
After the referral debate, the proposal will be sent to a committee. Once the committee's report is ready, the matter will be again discussed in a plenary session.
The aim is that most parts of the third stage of the Act on Transport Services will enter into force on 1 March 2019. Provisions on professional qualifications in road transport would come into effect on 1 January 2020. The provisions on the entry into force would come into effect as soon as possible.
Laura Vilkkonen, Director-General, tel. +358 40 500 0817, Twitter @vilkkonen
Olli-Pekka Rantala, Director-General, tel. +358 344 3400, Twitter @op_rantala
Timo Kievari, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 059 3706, Twitter @TimoKievari
Maija Ahokas, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 031 6178 (especially professional qualifications), Twitter @mmaija
Kirsi Miettinen, Senior Adviser for Legislative Affairs, tel. +358 40 071 9629, Twitter @KMiettinen
Elina Immonen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 50 303 2686, Twitter @ImmonenElina