The Tallinn city government has asked the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to consider imposing working and rest time requirements for taxi drivers, including providers of a platform-based transport service.
The requirements, which would include a cap on the maximum number of hours of work during a 24 hour period, would apply to drivers of vehicles with up to nine seats, a letter writen by Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov and sent to Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas said.
The purpose of the plans is to avoid overworking drivers and to ensure traffic safety.
"Law enforcement officials in Tallinn have noted that often taxi drivers work very long days, are tired and overworked. A driver sleeping in a parked car is not a rare sight. It cannot be ruled out that drivers' attention when participating in traffic may be affected due to fatigue caused by overwork," it states in the letter.
The letter describes the situation when it comes to drivers providing a so-called platform based taxi service as causing particular concern.
According to the city government, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications should give consideration to introducing a requirement for also taxis to be equipped with recording equipment similar to that required in buses and trucks, or alternatively to oblige information society platforms to check their drivers' abidance by working and rest time regulations.
The city government noted that even though under the Public Transport Act municipalities are entitled to impose requirements concerning the quality of service in taxi service, including the comfort of passengers and environment-friendliness, these requirements do not apply to taxis operating on the basis of an information society platform.
Also, without the existence of legitimate grounds, the city is lacking the possibility to interfere in taxi drivers' freedom to conduct business or impose restrictions on their exercise of the freedom of choice in acting in their field of activity.
The Traffic Act sets out working and rest time regulations for the drivers of vehicles used for the transportation of more than nine people.
As at the beginning of 2020, valid taxi licenses issued by Tallinn's municipal police numbered 4,083, taxi service vehicle cards 2,215 and driver's service provider cards 2,725.
Editor: Helen Wright