Ridesharing turnover may be capped at 16,000€

Increasingly popular ridesharing apps Uber (left) and Estonian-developed Taxify (right). (Liis Treimann/Postimees/Scanpix)
11/2/2016 12:17 PM
Category: Business

The Economic Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will be proposing changes to the Traffic Act which would set an annual turnover limit of 16,000 euros on ridesharing.

According to MP Kalle Palling, a member of the Economic Affairs Committee, the turnover limit is just one proposal and whether and what the limit would be would remain for the committee to decide, reported daily Eesti Päevaleht (link in Estonian).

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications' Deputy Secretary General for Internal Market Keit Kasemets, the primary issue in establishing a 16,000-euro limit would be arranging for its control.

Uber Estonia General Manager Enn Metsar, however, found that the establishment of a turnover limit would be completely artificial.

"From the supplier's perspective, ridesharing is like other sharing economy platforms — a flexible opportunity for enterprise," noted Metsar. "Flexibility allows one to drive for one hour or 40."

Taxify founder Martin Villig was likewise of the opinion that it wouldn't be reasonable to introduce such restrictions. "We haven't seen a reasonable proposal regarding what happens upon reaching the turnover limit," he said.

Also being discussed is a proposal that a rideshare carrier should be both a physical and legal entity, or in essence a business as well.

"This is an issue of freedom of enterprise, that one can choose the form most suitable for a service provider," explained Palling. "I believe that the number of people who dream of a more flexible work scheduled and being one's own boss is very large. If any of them are previously the owner of a registered FIE [self-employed person], osaühing [private limited company] or aktsiaselts [public limited company], then why should the state force them into one extreme in order to participate in the sharing economy?"

One condition being discussed is that a ridesharer must be able to notify the client prior to beginning driving what the maximum cost of the trip will be.

According to Metsar, Uber's app already calculates the estimated cost of a trip. Villig did not consider the requirement to determine a trip's exact cost to be realistic, as it is difficult to foresee all kinds of influencing factors, such as traffic jams and vehicular accidents, however he was sure that in 95 percent of cases it was possible for the client to reasonably predict the cost of their trip.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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