The Transport Code submitted to Parliament for consideration
Transport market regulations will be brought together in a unified act, the Transport Code. Its key aim is to create the preconditions for customer-oriented provision of transport services and digitalisation in transport, and the preconditions for new business models and entrepreneurship. The Transport Code promotes fairness of competition in the passenger transport market and the competitiveness of the service providers of both passenger and goods transport.
The Government submitted the legislative proposal for the Transport Code to Parliament on 22 September.
The Transport Code would enter into force on 1 July 2018. This will allow current operators in the sector enough time to adapt their operations to comply with the new legislation.
The Transport Code will bring together and renew provisions on the transport of passengers and goods. The proposal will change the current state, in which the transport market is strictly regulated and guided by public measures. The Transport Code creates the framework for organising publicly subsidised passenger transportations more efficiently e.g. by taking advantage of digitalisation, combining transportations and different types of equipment. The objective set in the Government Programme is to achieve a 10% saving in publicly subsidised passenger transportation from 2017.
The proposal implements the Government's key projects of creating a growth environment for digital business and improving legal provisions. The Transport Code also facilitates meeting environmental and climate targets by improving the efficiency of transportations.
Taxis to be included in the public transport market
The Transport Code facilitates entering the taxi sector and increases the freedom of taxi operators to develop their operation. The proposal would bring about essential changes in the taxi system.
The aim is to create more versatile business and services in the sector, increase employment in the sector and make more services available especially in the countryside by relaxing regulation and facilitating access to the sector.
As taxi quotas would be given up, any operator that fulfils the conditions for a licence laid down in the act could offer taxi services in future. A taxi licence would be operator-specific, and drivers would also need a taxi driver licence.
Taxis would continue to have a defined principal zone of operation. According to the legislative proposal, operators would have to register their principal operating area and hours of service, i.e. their zone of operation and hours of providing service. However, after the reform, a taxi could remain waiting for passengers also outside its registered zone of operation, and taxis from other localities can come and help when demand is high in another locality.
The holder of the taxi licence would have to have an office in Finland. Taxi drivers should possess sufficient interaction and language skills regarding each service situation and be capable of assisting special needs groups. Taxi drivers would not be required to pass a language test. Drivers would need a taxi driver licence, which would still be granted by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, Trafi. The taxi driver licence would be valid for five years at a time.
The regulation of taxi prices would be discontinued and the markets would determine the prices in future. If necessary, Trafi could determine maximum prices if prices began to rise unreasonably. In addition, Trafi would have a duty to monitor the impact of the reform on the market situation.
Open data interfaces make new services possible
The Transport Code will significantly enhance the implementation of new technology, digitalisation and new business concepts, and will make uniform and mobile travel chains possible.
Future transport will rely on the interoperability of information and information systems, as well as the openness of interfaces. The Transport Code proposes that essential data on transport services are made open. The Transport Code also lays down provisions for the interoperability of ticket and payment systems.
This would make transport services as widely accessible as possible for everyone and also
facilitate combining the services appropriately.
The Transport Code will be implemented in three stages due to its broad-based content. Preparation for the second stage has already begun.
Olli-Pekka Rantala, Director-General, Data Department, tel. +358 295 34 2585, Twitter @op_rantala
Laura Vilkkonen, Director-General (open data, data interoperability), tel. +358 295 34 2391, Twitter @vilkkonen
Susanna Metsälampi, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 34 2057, Twitter @SMetsalampi
Maija Ahokas, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 295 34 2390, Twitter @mmaija