Knowledge of the Estonian language is required from taxy drivers

The government here on Thursday gave its nod to a proposal that would put off by one year the start of the application of the requirement for taxi drivers to have B1 proficiency level in Estonian language.

The government decided to support in principle a bill of amendment of the Public Transport Act initiated by MPs Deniss Borodits and Urve Palo that would allow persons not having a service provider card to work as taxi drivers until April 1, 2017, spokespeople for the government said.

Under the valid Public Transport Act, a person providing the taxi service must have a service provider card, which is issued to persons having a valid right to drive at least a category B power-driven vehicle, who have completed a taxi driver training course, have at least level B1 proficiency in Estonian, and comply with the requirement of good repute. Under the now valid law the service provider card becomes mandatory from April 1, 2016.

Borodits told BNS postponement of the requirement to have a service provider card was necessary because during the period left until April 1 not all taxi drivers will be able to obtain such a card.

The government did not back a bill of the opposition Center Party calling for a gradual introduction of the language requirement.

Critics of the law say that in the Russian-speaking north-eastern border city Narva, for instance, most taxi drivers will become not eligible for their job when the requirement takes effect.

A complaint over this has been filed with the European Commission by MEP Yana Toom from the Estonian Center Party.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

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