The new rules were passed to the city council on Oct. 4. "Tallinn City Council will probably make some minor changes to the project, but in general it has a good chance to be approved," said Anneli Berends, council spokeswoman. The project will be discussed either on Oct. 19 or Nov. 2, she said.
"The new requirements are more strict than overall in Estonia, because Tallinn is the capital and a popular place among tourists," said Mati Songisepp, head of the city transport department. The requirements were based upon the existing ones and experts' opinion.
According to the new requirements, the taxi must be under 12 years old and belong to at least medium car class. It also must have not less than four doors and a taxi light. The driver must be able to speak Estonian. Drivers are not allowed to smoke in the car.
Some of the old requirements concerning drivers' clothes were omitted in the new regulations. A tie is not obligatory anymore.
After the new rules are in force, the city transport department will issue taxi licenses only for half a year. According to the department, this should keep unqualified cars off Tallinn streets.
The taxi companies' position is not negative. "Nothing is yet clear, and it is hard to comment. It is not the first time the city wants to change taxi regulations," said an employee of E-Takso taxi company.
Allan Kottise, Linnatakso Ltd. service director, said his company welcomes the new rules. "Our cars and drivers meet the requirements that will be set. Actually, the company has been ready for that for some time already."
"Evidently, taxi companies will survive the new order, but some taxi drivers who work by themselves may find it difficult to work under it," Kottise added.