How can you identify a taxi?
Starting from 1 July 2018, almost any vehicle with three or four wheels (excluding buses) can operate as a taxi – i.e. any car, lorry, van or microcar. However, regardless of the vehicle type, the vehicle must be registered and its intended use must be listed as being subject to licence.
As a rule, the service provider must have a licence and provide information on whether the service provider is operating based on a licence or if the service provider has been exempt from the licensing requirement. The validity of licences can also be checked from a national directory (In Finnish).
Consumers can choose the service that best meets their needs. The equipment and quality level of taxis may vary, and this may be reflected in the prices.
Taxi top lights remain a good indicator for identifying a taxi. Taxi top lights must be yellow and black and have the text TAKSI or TAXI on them. The size of a taxi top light may vary and there can also be other text on it.
The use of a taxi top light authorises the driver to use, for example, taxi stations, taxi lanes and other areas reserved for taxis only.
Ordering and availability of taxis
A taxi can be ordered through a dispatch service, through various mobile applications or by calling a taxi entrepreneur directly. Taxis will continue to be available at taxi ranks. At a taxi rank, customers can choose the car they want instead of taking the first car in the line
Starting from 1 July 2018, taxis will no longer have obligations related to location or on-call duty, nor will they be obligated to accept all customers.
Taxi entrepreneurs will be free to choose the times when they are driving. However, information on the primary operating area and service hours must be available to passengers together with information on any changes and cancellations.
Information on the services and assistance available to persons with restricted functional capacity, accessibility of the vehicle and equipment that can be used to alight the vehicle and to interact with the driver must be available to passengers. Information on ordering taxi services that Kela (the Finnish social services) pays for is available on the Kela website.
Pre-ordering a taxi is recommended in small towns and at times of low demand, such as at night on weekdays. Checking the service hours of local entrepreneurs is also recommended.
In addition, when ordering a taxi, customers should check for any additional services offered by the taxi company and the applicable service charges as necessary. Examples of such services are transporting bulky luggage, providing child seats and transporting pets. This information can also be available on the company’s website or Facebook pages.
Before the taxi journey starts or an order is confirmed, the passenger must always receive information on the total taxi fare for the journey or the basis for calculating the prices.
Maximum taxi fares are not specified in legislation. Taxis apply various fares and pricing models.
Companies can offer a fixed fare for certain routes or use a pricing model based on factors such as time, kilometres or zones.
Different taxis can charge different fares for the exact same journey. In addition, fares can vary based on demand, booking time, booking method and location.
If the taxi fare exceeds or is estimated to exceed EUR 100, the taxi must specifically agree on the fare with the passenger.
An order concerning the total fare for taxi services (Trafi)
If there is a dispute over what has been agreed on the fare, the service provider must be able to prove that the service provider’s claim is correct.
If the fare is based on the journey’s length or the time used for the journey, the driver must take the route that is the most inexpensive and appropriate for the passenger if the passenger lets the driver select the route, or the driver must take the route that the passenger has accepted or suggested in advance at the time of ordering the taxi.
A taxi company and dispatch centre are always obligated to provide passengers with information on the total fare (including taxes) for the journey before the journey begins or the order is confirmed. If the exact fare cannot be provided in advance, the basis for calculating the prices (including taxes) must be disclosed.
The total price or basis for calculating the prices must be provided in a clear and unambiguous manner that it is easy to understand.
In addition, information on fares must be easily visible when hailing a taxi on the street or taking one from the taxi rank.
However, it is recommended that passengers are aware of the pricing principles and service levels of taxi services in advance and compare them if possible.
Indicating prices and fare tables (Trafi)
Taxis must provide advance information on accepted payment methods. Passengers have the right to pay for their journey in cash and with the most common payment cards unless the entrepreneur has defined a certain payment method that the passenger has accepted when making the order or reservation.
Safety and service quality
Starting from 1 July 2018, becoming a taxi driver will be easier, but drivers will still be required to pass the taxi licence test and the background checks for criminal records will be more thorough.
Among other things, drivers are expected to be familiar with the local area, have sufficient interaction and language skills and the ability to take into consideration any special needs arising from a passenger’s restricted functional capacity. The name and contact information of the licence holder as well as the driver’s name must be visible to the passenger.
Drivers must ensure that passengers can board and alight safely, and they must offer the passengers any assistance that may be required.
Information on the services and assistance available to persons with restricted functional capacity, accessibility of the vehicle and equipment that can be used to alight the vehicle and to interact with the driver must be available to passengers. Information on ordering taxi services that Kela pays for is available on the Kela website.
Defects in taxi services
The applicable legislation does not include provisions on delays or defects in taxi services, so the general principles of contract and consumer laws are applied when service defects are assessed.
The company is responsible for a defect in a taxi service if
- the service content, manner of performance or the result of the service does not conform to what can be deemed to have been agreed. For example, the taxi arrives at a different time than what has been agreed, it does not arrive at all or the equipment of the taxi deviates from what has been agreed.
- the service has not been provided professionally and diligently while taking the passenger’s interests into account.
The professional skills of taxi drivers include, among other things, the requirements specified in the Act on Transport Services:
- the driver ensures that the passengers can board and alight safely and offers the passengers any assistance that may be required
- the driver has sufficient interaction and language skills
- the driver has the ability to take into consideration any special needs arising from a passenger's restricted functional capacity
- the driver chooses the route that is the most inexpensive and appropriate for the passenger if the passenger leaves the choice to the driver and the price is calculated on the basis of the length or duration of the journey, and the driver has the local knowledge required for this.
In other words, service is defective, for example, if the driver neglects the needs of a passenger that has restricted functional capacity or the driver selects a route that is inappropriate for the consumer.
- The service does not conform to the ordinary expectations of passengers concerning taxi services.
- The service does not conform to the information provided in connection with service marketing and the information can be assumed to have affected the consumer’s decision making or the company has failed to provide information that the customer legitimately could have expected to receive.
- The service does not conform to the requirements specified in legislation, regulations or decisions made by authorities.
Among other things, information required under the Act on Transport Services must be provided and other obligations must be fulfilled. For example, passengers must be allowed to pay in cash or with the most commonly used payment cards, unless the passenger has clearly accepted some specific payment method at the time of making the booking.
Compensation for defects
Consumers can usually demand a price reduction based on a defect in taxi services, because the primary compensation methods of rectification of a defect or delivery of non-defective services are not necessarily appropriate in the context of taxi services. The price reduction must be proportionate to the defect.
The consumer is not obliged to accept a gift voucher in lieu of a price reduction.
If the defect is essential and cannot be compensated with a price reduction, the final compensation method is to cancel the contract.
Cancellation of contract
A contract can usually be cancelled if the defect or delay is essential. Passengers can cancel the contract before or after the journey.
Before the journey
If there are weighty reasons to assume that the service will have an essential defect, the customer has the right to cancel the contract for those parts that have not yet been delivered.
If there are weighty reasons to assume that there will be an essential delay in the service, the contract can be cancelled with immediate effect and the passenger has no obligation to pay for the service.
After the journey:
Passengers can cancel the contract after the journey if other consequences cannot be considered to be reasonable from the perspective of the passenger.
Compensation for damage
Compensation for damage can be claimed for costs incurred as a result of a defect or delay.
Compensation may be demanded for both direct and indirect damages.
- Direct damages include, for example, reasonable costs incurred from actions related to clarifying the defect, such as phone charges.
- Indirect damages include damages incurred as a result of the service not being delivered, such as costs related to other contractual obligations (e.g. costs related to missing a connecting flight) or compensation for loss of income. Compensation for indirect damages will only be provided if the damages were due to negligence on the company’s part.
You must be able to present a receipt or other reliable proof of the costs incurred.
Damages cannot be claimed for inconvenience, emotional distress or time wasted.
Filing complaints concerning taxi journeys
If you have used a taxi as a consumer, always contact the company in question first (e.g. the taxi company or taxi dispatch centre).
File your complaint as soon as possible after noticing the defect and try to negotiate a suitable compensation. We recommend filing complaints in writing. You can use the Complaint Assistant when filing a complaint.
File a complaint with the company
If your complaint to the company is unsuccessful, contact the consumer rights advisors at a Local Register Office. Consumer rights advisors provide free guidance and mediation in disputes.
Consumer Advisory Services
If you are a business traveller, meaning someone else (your employer, company etc.) has paid for your journey, your primary contact is the taxi operator you have been dealing with.
Any contractual relationships between companies, which also include taxi journeys paid by a company or an employer, must primarily be clarified between the companies.
You should contact the taxi operator as soon as possible and specify the content of the complaint and any demands related to compensation. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the dispute can be submitted to be resolved by a competent court of law.
If you have made a taxi journey that Kela or a municipality compensates and there were defects in the service, you can contact the service provider (e.g. the dispatch centre you ordered the journey from or the taxi driver) directly or you can contact the municipality organising the service or Kela in accordance with separate instructions provided by them.
Please note that e.g. Kela’s decision includes instructions for appeal that must be followed when filing a complaint regarding the compensation decision.