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Riigikogu passes Uber law to regulate rideshare services

Uber and Taxify both provide ridesharing services in Estonia.
Uber and Taxify both provide ridesharing services in Estonia. Source: (Liis Treimann/Postimees/Scanpix)

The Riigikogu passed the so-called rideshare bill into law on Thursday. The new law regulates the activities of online platforms that offer rideshare services and run both ordering the ride as well as calculating the fare through an IT platform.

Of the Riigikogu's members 86 voted in favor of the new law. The bill that preceded it was introduced by 26 members and called for changes to the Public Transport Act, the Traffic Act, and the State Fees Act in order to regulate rideshare services and define their position compared to established and regulated taxi services.

The law disposes of the requirement of professional training for taxi drivers and instead leaves it to the taxi and rideshare businesses to arrange all necessary instruction. The result is flexible regulation that allows for different business models while still providing a clear legal framework for all taxi services.

The previous legal base is extended to include services as well that are offered through an online platform, and in case both the ordering and the price calculation of a ride is done online also disposes of the requirement of a taximeter.

Price limits set by local governments for taxi services don't apply to online platforms that display the price of a trip before the passenger gets into the car, as a too expensive ride can be rejected.

In all other cases, e.g. where a taxi is ordered through a call center, or if the online platform only arranges trips, but doesn't show the price up front, taximeters are still required.

Changes made to the bill during its second reading in the Riigikogu included getting rid of the requirement of professional training, and giving taxi drivers the right to offer services through IT platforms online. The law is entering into force on Nov. 1 this year and applies to all of Estonia, though with the provision that providers have to take exceptions and special regulations of local councils into account.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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