During the year, the FCCA participated in the Ticket project, jointly managed by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority, the Finnish Transport Agency and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, Trafi, which seeks to create the conditions for the provision of continuous travel chains, under the Act on Transport Services. The FCCA also issued a statement to the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority on the draft for the code of conduct. The code of conduct is a part of the project that helps operators when they open the sales interfaces of their ticket and payment system for other operators.
During the year, the FCCA also regularly met with the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, Trafi, in connection with preparations for the enforcement of the Act on Transport Services and issued a statement on, among others, Trafi’s draft regulation concerning the information provided to passengers on passenger transport services and the total price of taxi services.
In its statement (in Finnish) on the draft for the Government proposal on the amendment of the Act on Transport and certain related laws, as well as in the hearings organised by the Commerce Committee and the Transport and Communications Committee, the FCCA supported the proposals made in the proposal from the perspective of financial competition. The proposal contained several objectives for lightening the administrative burden and reducing national regulation, which will help to promote the entry of new businesses into the market. In accordance with the Government proposal, the FCCA also supported making the information required for developing transport services widely available to different operators, which will enable the creation of new types of business models and services based on digital information in the transport sector.
In its statement on the draft Government proposal for the temporary amendment of the Health Insurance Act, the FCCA considered it problematic that the draft included the proposal that only one central dispatch service continue to operate in each health care district for dispatching taxi transport that is reimbursed by Kela from health insurance. This is likely to prevent the development of competition in dispatch services and reinforce the position of the dispatch centre for Kela-reimbursed trips. The FCCA considered the proposed model to be detrimental to competition on the taxi market and contrary to the objectives of the Act on Transport Services project. The FCCA also considered it important that the solution presented in the draft Government proposal on the maximum reimbursement basis for Kela trips provided for in the Government decree is only meant to be temporary.
From the perspective of consumer protection, the FCCA drew attention to the fact that, although the concept of travel chains is welcome as such, there are no separate provisions on passenger protection in the travel chains. If travel chains that are made up of a number of sections using different modes of transport are formed on the market, liability issues can be difficult, and legal certainty can only be obtained on the basis of slowly established decision practices.
There are also open questions related to acting on the customer’s behalf, the aim of which is to allow the incorporation of other forms of transport in addition to road and rail traffic, as well as additional services, benefits and discounts, into the travel chain. These need to be resolved before enforcing the legislation. It is vital for consumers that the trustworthiness of the companies acting on the customer’s behalf can be verified, that data security and data protection are appropriately ensured, and that the liabilities when acting on the customer’s behalf and in the implementation of the travel chain are clear.
In the FCCA’s view, the development of the markets and any problems encountered by consumers, the ruling practice to be established, and the development of EU legislation will need to be carefully monitored to allow subsequent review of how liability issues are handled from the consumer perspective and whether there is a need to amend legislation. The Consumer Ombudsman also called forth discussion on liability issues in travel chains in a blog article (in Finnish). In addition, the Consumer Ombudsman was involved in preparing the industry for the entry into force of the first phase of the Act on Transport Services by providing training for taxi and coach services operators on consumer protection.