Ministry: Rest time requirements for taxi drivers 'unwarranted'
Although the city of Tallinn wishes to impose working and rest time requirements for taxi drivers, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MKM) finds it unwarranted because of the costs this would incur.
In a letter sent to MKM, Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov has asked to introduce a cap on the maximum number of hours of work during a 24 hour period and also introduce a requirement for taxis to be equipped with recording equipment similar to that required in buses and trucks.
According to Novikov, it should also be required to monitor the taxi drivers' hours of work in regards to providers of a platform-based transport service, such as Bolt or Yandex.
The city cannot impose restrictions to taxis operating on the basis of an information society platform, it is also lacking the possibility to interfere in taxi drivers' freedom to conduct business.
"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," Novikov stated 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.
As at the beginning of 2020, valid taxi licenses issued by Tallinn's municipal police numbered 4,038, taxi service vehicle cards 2,215 and driver's service provider cards 2,725.
Ahti Kuningas, Undersecretary of Transport of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, said it is currently unreasonable to enforce mandatory recording equipment and working and rest time requirements for taxi drivers.
Supplying taxis with recording equipment is too complicated and expensive, Kuningas said, explaining that it would cost around €1,300 per car, not including further maintenance costs. In addition, the introduction of this requirement would mean creating and enforcing new regulations, which would increase the workload of institutions and operators, Kuningas pointed out.
"In light of the above, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications does not find it warranted for taxis to be equipped with recording equipment and to impose working and rest time requirements for taxi drivers," Kuningas said.
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Editor: Anders Nõmm