The Parliament of Latvia has passed a law that regulates and allows the ridesharing industry, a landmark decision in the face of recent ride-sharing bans for companies like Uber in cities like London and Austin, and countries such as Denmark and China.
The Latvian parliament has unanimously passed a bill that regulates ridesharing services with passenger cars in the country. The law will enter into force on March 1, 2018 and provides a clear legal framework of operations for mobile apps such as Taxify and Uber to provide ridesharing services in Latvia that co-exist with traditional taxi services.
The amendment to the Law On Carriage was passed with all 88 parliament MP’s present unanimously voting in favor. The new law regulates that ridesharing services can be offered by a passenger car with up to 4 seats. Ridesharing services will be able to be offered, requested and approved only through a mobile app, and the fare and payments will by calculated by the app, with only electronic payments accepted. Taxi services will continue to accept both cash and electronic payments.
Over the past few years, ridesharing services have experienced a rapid increase in popularity due to the ease of use and transparent transactions provided by mobile apps. Estonian-based Taxify is currently the leading mobile ride-booking app in Latvia, however the changes in the ride-sharing law opens the doors to Uber, which has been patiently waiting for it's opportunity to enter the Latvian market.
“For Taxify, we are happy to see the ridesharing law passed. This is a significant step forward for everyone, but also a clear signal that Latvia is open to innovation and allows us to be much more competitive alongside the world. We look forward to introduce more private drivers on our app once the law will come into force. The biggest benefit is the opportunity for citizens to make a profit in their own time, without long-term commitments or shaped working hours, but with a guaranteed flow of customers. On the other hand, customers appreciate a competitive, much more enjoyable experience,” says Juris Krumins, Taxify representative.
Driver registration for both ridesharing and taxi services will be provided by the Road Administration, which will also issue licenses to private drivers for passenger transport by passenger car. At present, passenger transport by taxi can only be carried out if the carrier has received a license issued by the municipality.