Tallinn municipal police: Taxi business returning from hibernation

  • 2020-07-22
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – In the taxi business of Tallinn, the number of applications for vehicle cards has been rising in July with 68 applications filed last week, of which 43 were granted and two rejected. 

"It looks like taxi business is starting to recover and rise back to the level we saw before the emergency situation," Aivar Melnikov, head of the taxi sector at the Municipal Police (Mupo), said on Wednesday.

He said that before the start of the emergency situation it was common for 350-400 applications to be filed per month, meaning approximately 100 applications per week.

During the emergency situation a major drop took place in the taxi business, which was not mirrored in the data for March as in that month documents filed in February were processed.

The numbers of applications were as low as 95 in April, 116 in May and 168 in June. The fact that the municipal police only accepted applications filed online in these months apparently played a role as well. 

A second trend was drivers massively canceling their vehicle cards, which meant that they discontinued the provision of taxi service. Applications for the cancelation of a vehicle card numbered 192 in March, 222 in April, 140 in May and 132 in June. In total 686 vehicle cards were canceled during the emergency situation.  

Melnikov urged drivers pondering application for a vehicle card for taxi operation to carefully think whether they want to take on the liabilities related to a vehicle card, which include higher insurance premiums for their vehicle and a register entry of the vehicle having been used for the provision of taxi service that will affect the aftermarket value of their car. 

"Many drivers apply for a vehicle card and try it out for a week or a couple of weeks, but will then cancel their card because it isn't easy to enter the market as a newcomer. Competition is tough and the amount actually earned doesn't meet their expectations," he said.  

Many drivers canceling their taxi vehicle card are doing it in order to benefit from an unfair scheme whereby, after obtaining a vehicle card and having their vehicle activated on a service platform, the driver will cancel the card to again enjoy lower insurance premiums, as the platform usually will not check drivers for a valid vehicle card again. 

Melnikov observed that during the emergency situation the situation on the taxi market improved and only honest drivers with proper documents were left on the market. Now, unfortunately, the market is returning to the pre-crisis situation.

"But Mupo inspectors are checking taxis on a continuous basis and violators will get a warning or a fine," the official added.