Economic Affairs Committee discussed amendments to the on-demand ride sourcing bill on 8 November 2016

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Foto from Riigikogu

The Economic Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) discussed amendments to the bill regulating on-demand ride sourcing at its sittings yesterday and today, and reached a consensus on reporting obligation, electronic payment only and giving of feedback.

“Most of the members of the committee admitted that ridesharing service differs from classical taxi service and requires a separate regulation. Pressing new business models into the existing frames restricts the freedom of enterprise and initiative,” Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee Toomas Kivimägisaid.

The Economic Affairs Committee was of the opinion that the providers of on-demand ride sourcing service should have the obligation to report to the Tax and Customs Board on starting with providing this service.

The Committee agreed with the representative of the Estonian Traffic Insurance Fund that when a vehicle starts providing on-demand ride sourcing service, the Fund should get information about it through the Tax and Customs Board.

Pursuant to the bill, the ordering of on-demand ride sourcing can be done only through information society services, and the provider of service is obliged to confirm the order through the same channel. This precludes ordering on-demand ride sourcing service from the street, car park, public transport stop, by telephone or using other such channels.

Pursuant to the amendment discussed in the Committee, the consumer has to have clear and understandable information about the price of ride offer, including maximum price. Transactions in cash are also precluded in order to guarantee as much transparency as possible about the payments both to the consumers and for supervision.

The bill provides for creating a feedback system so that the passengers would have the possibility to assess their satisfaction with the ride and make it known to the next passengers.

Next week the Committee will discuss whether on-demand ride sourcing service can be provided by natural persons only, or would it be allowed also to legal persons. It is also planned to discuss whether it would be practical to impose a 16,000 euro limit on turnover.

“Keeping in mind that the conditions for on-demand ride sourcing service providers are made stricter, there is no reason to impose a limit on turnover or confine the circle of providers of service to natural persons only,” Kivimägi noted.

“I believe that at the end of this month, the Economic Affairs Committee will send the bill to the Riigikogu for the second reading. We are very close to reaching an agreement, and I very much hope that the change of coalition will not be an obstacle here,” Kivimägi added.

Representatives of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Tax and Customs Board, Estonian Insurance Association and the Estonian Traffic Insurance Fund participated in the discussions on the Bill on Amendments to the Public Transport Act (188 SE), initiated by 26 members of the Riigikogu.

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