Estonian parliament considers bill to limit taxi tariffs13.08.2013, 11:57
The new draft law on public transport is proposing to allow local governments to introduce a maximum limit for taxi fare, writes Äripäev.
The draft that was prepared by the Ministry of Economic Affairs has already gone through first reading in the parliament. The deadline for submitting amendment proposals for the draft bill is September 11.
Authors of the bill say that the state must protect people from fraudulent taxi operators who charge exorbitant fees from passengers or pay no tax for their services.
To make it easier for customers to understand the price level of the specific taxi, the bill proposes to introduce price lists on the green, yellow and red backgrounds.
Rain Saart, head of municipal police service or MUPO, says that they receive customer complaints about taxis every week, but the current law has tied their hands.
“For instance, we cannot stop a moving car and are thus forced to seek fraudulent taxi drivers from taxi stops. Taxi drivers often refuse to show us their licences so we are forced to call the police to draw up an offense,” said Saart.
The Estonian association of taxi drivers is opposing the bill, saying that it is restricting enterprise freedom and is thus unconstitutions.
“The government has publicly declared that it will not interfere in the pricing policy of entrepreneurs, but this bill is doing the opposite,” says Lembit Poolak, head of the association.
Poolak says that the association is for better regulation, but this draft is too raw to be adopted as law.
Poolak says that one of the amendments that the association is proposing is to adjust taxi tariffs once a quarter, as in Finland.
“The Finnish law enables to adjust taxi tariffs once a quarter according to changes in fuel prices. Since fuel prices in Estonia are constantly fluctuating, this would be especially important also in Estonia,” he said.