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Changes for the taxi industry in Norway

TaxiTaxi. Photo: NTM


Proposed bill leads to changes for the taxi industry

The Norwegian Government wants to remove the ceiling on taxi licenses in the big cities and facilitate a monopoly model in the districts. This, obviously, causes the Norwegian Taxi Association to react strongly.

The bill, which is to be dealt with by the Cabinet on Wednesday, is about removing the ceiling on the taxi licenses in the cities, an exclusive right model in the districts, and new technology. This will make the taxi service better, the Government parties believe. The proposal was sent out for consultation in October last year.

“We want more competition in the cities, while at the same time securing the offer in the districts. It is time to put these changes in place, when we see that turnover is declining, the demands from the customers are increasing and new technology offers completely different opportunities both for the customers and the industry,” Head of the Transport and Communications Committee of the Norwegian Parliament, Helge Orten (Conservatives), informs.

Today it is the county municipalities that assess the need and consider how many licenses there shall be.

“We adapt the taxi market to a modern era and focus on the customers. We now make it easier for more players to establish themselves in the industry,” Committee Member, Tor André Johnsen, adds.

More stringent requirements

The proposed bill also means that anyone who wishes to operate a taxi still must possess a license. In addition, the drivers are, among other things, faced with stricter requirements for knowledge about first aid and transport of vulnerable customer groups. This on top of the current requirement for a health certificate and satisfactory police record.

“Easier to get a license, stricter driver requirements,” Orten sums up.

The proposal also includes investigating new technology-neutral solutions as a substitute for the traditional meter. A working group led by the Norwegian Metrology Agency has already submitted its report, it seems. The proposal also includes investigating new technology-neutral solutions as a substitute for the taxi meter. A working group led by the Norwegian Metrology Agency has already submitted its report, it appears.

Destructive taxi policy

The Government’s liberalisation policy raises strong reactions from the Norwegian Taxi Association.

“The Government’s liberalisation of taxi leases will offer both poorer services to the public and working conditions for the industry. It is sad that the Government is in favour of making the same mistakes that many other countries have done before them,” Leader of the Norwegian Taxi Association, Øystein Trevland, counters.

He emphasizes that there will be even bigger differences in quality and prices – and more unserious players.

“It weakens confidence in politics when the Government overrules expert knowledge and important consultation statements,” Trevland continues.

He believes the biggest danger is that a number of hobbyists will split the markets so much that it will not be possible to maintain a holistic offering with decent working conditions.

A clear difference between a sovereign and a subject

In addition to liberalising, the Government further proposes a model in which the county municipalities can grant exclusive rights to one or more license holders where the market does not provide a sufficient taxi offer.

“The Liberals are very happy that people in rural areas still have a stable and satisfactory taxi service. There is a big difference between city and hamlet in Norway, and it has been important for the Liberals that the legislative changes do not lead to a diminished offer in smaller places,” Committee Member, Jon Gunnes (Liberals), asserts.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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