Taxi services reform increases number of taxis – largest increases in Uusimaa, Lapland and Southwest Finland
The number of vehicles used for taxi transport has increased by 25% since the introduction of the taxi services reform at the start of the last July. This equates to around 2000 more cars being used as taxis.
Over 12,200 vehicles were registered for passenger transport subject to licence at the end of 2018. A year earlier the figure had been around 9600. In total, the number of taxi vehicles has increased by around 2600.
“The majority of taxis are cars, for which total numbers have increased by around 2000 in the past year. The overall increase also includes vehicles belonging to other categories – around 600 lorries and vans – although it is not certain that they are being used for taxi services. Although the legislative reforms added new options, in practice most taxi services are still provided by cars”, explains Traficom’s Director General of Road Transport Marko Sillanpää.
At the end of the year, there were 115 small accessible vehicles and 222 large accessible vehicles being used for taxi services. Before the reforms, accessible vehicles were classified as taxis for the disabled, of which there were 2040 in use on the roads at the end of last year, and accessible taxis, of which there were 871. In total, there were over 3200 accessible vehicles being used for taxi services at the end of the year.
“The figures indicate that the taxi services reform has brought growth to the sector. The growth has been concentrated in certain regions, but it is significant to note that the number of taxis has not decreased at the regional level anywhere in the country”, Sillanpää continues.
As a result of the reforms to the Act on Transport Services, taxis are no longer bound to a particular station area. According to the preliminary data from a survey of the taxi sector carried out last autumn by Traficom, one third of taxi drivers in medium and large cities have indeed expanded their area of operations. In total, around one fifth of growth taxi entrepreneurs and taxi drivers have expanded their operating area.
“According to the survey, the reforms seem to have indeed brought new opportunities for expanding operations, especially for entrepreneurs and drivers operating in rural areas and around the edges of large cities”, Sillanpää adds.
Number of vehicles used for taxi services has increased in all regions
At the regional level, the number of vehicles used for taxi services has increased in all regions, with the largest increases seen in Uusimaa, Lapland and Southwest Finland.
Taksiliikennekäytössä olevien ajoneuvojen muutos maakunnittain 31.12.2017-31.12.2018
Mercedes are still the most popular taxis – Toyotas also on the rise
The most popular car models for taxi services during the last two years have been the Mercedes-Benz E series and Sprinter.
“Comparing the TOP 20 list for the last day of 2018 with the list a year earlier, the most significant change can be seen in the increased popularity of the Toyota Auris and Prius, which in 2017 did not even make it into the list of TOP 20 most used car models for taxi services”, reports Senior Specialist Antti Halmetoja.
The list of most popular taxi models includes all vehicles classified as taxis.
TOP 20 list of car models used for taxi services from 31.12.2018 and difference compared to one year earlier
New taxi service licences still being applied for at a rate of 200–300 per month
Since the taxi services reform, over 3200 new taxi service licences have been issued. Between July and December, around 5000 taxi service licence applications were submitted.
“The surge of applications during the first weeks represented, of course, a peak in application numbers, but interest in new taxi service licences has remained study the whole time. In the autumn, an average of 400–500 applications were received each month, and the figure is still at around 200–300”, explains Leading Specialist Pasi Hautalahti.
In total, there are over 12,000 currently valid taxi service licences, with around 10,000 of these being held by businesses. Before the reform, there were around 9500 licences, with around 7000 held by businesses.
“Following the taxi service reform, companies only require a single licence which covers all the company’s cars. Based on the figures, it would appear that some companies have some old, excess licences that are still valid. We will certainly be making contact separately with entrepreneurs about this matter, and licence holders may themselves, of course, request the cancellation of excess licences”, Hautalahti continues.
A couple of thousand new drivers for the sector
Around 3000 new taxi driving licences were issued last year, with nearly 2000 of these being issued after the legislative reform. The year before, around 1500 new licences were issued.
Last year, over 2000 taxi drivers renewed their driving licence, with 1500 of these renewals taking place after the change to the law. In 2017, around 1200 people renewed their licence.
“For taxi driving licences also, the level of interest seems to have remained steady, as over 350 new licences were issued in January, and around 200 old licences were renewed as well”, Hautalahti adds.
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom is monitoring the impacts of the taxi services reform. Monitoring of taxi services is carried out in cooperation with other authorities.
Traficom has also carried out a questionnaire survey in order to investigate different groups’ experiences of the changes brought about by the Act on Transport Services. The survey was carried out in August–September 2018, after the Act on Transport Services came into force, and the summarised results of the survey will be published on the Traficom website in early 2019.
Director General of Road Transport Marko Sillanpää, tel. 029 534 5210, marko.sillanpaa(at)traficom.fi, on Twitter @MarkoSillanp
Leading Specialist Pasi Hautalahti, tel. 029 534 6503, pasi.hautalahti(at)traficom.fi (transport licences)