Since July, two new requirements have come in force: taxi drivers must know Latvian at B1 level, and all cars must be equipped with a device that sends data on the journey directly to the State Revenue Service (VID).
Aldis, a taxi driver of the company Bolt, said that of around 1,800 drivers, only around 800 are now left. "I am happy there are fewer [drivers] because there is more work. [..] We really needed to reduce the number because there were too many taxis. At the moment, even if the tariff is lower, I can earn more because there are many orders and no customers are left behind. The only discomfort is for customers that they expected a car to come within two minutes, but now they have to wait ten minutes,” the taxi driver said.
Aldis expects that the balance between demand and supply would stabilize with time, and the price of the journey would also decrease slightly.
The head of the Road Transport Directorate Kristiāns Godiņš told Latvian Radio that the number of issued taxi driving licences has shrunk in the past year, but the lack of language is not the main reason. On average, ten licences per month are refused due to insufficient skills of Latvian. The new VID control system are causing a larger drop. The pandemic has also done its part, with some employees changing sectors.
There are currently 846 active taxi companies registered and there is no significant decrease in the number of licenses issued. On average, up to 1,100 cars are licensed monthly.