Transport Ministry seeks to address taxi troubles at Riga Airport

The Latvian Transport Ministry is in the process of drafting regulatory amendments intended to address persisting problems with taxicab services at Riga International Airport, the ministry’s representative Ilze Greizkalna told LETA June 26.

She said that a workgroup, which met at the ministry recently, reached an agreement on the necessity to amend some provisions in order to “enable the airport to deal with the situation”.

As reported, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Unity) has sent several officials a letter asking to tackle the “taxicab issue” at Riga International Airport, the minister said on Twitter today.

The letter has been sent to Transport Minister Uldis Augulis (Greens/Farmers), Economics Minister Arvils Aseradens (Unity), Riga Airport CEO Ilona Lice, Baiba Vitolina, head of the Consumer Rights Protection Center, Skaidrite Abrama, head of the Competition Council, and Zlata Elksnina-Zascirinska, board chairperson of the Foreign Investors’ Council in Latvia (FICIL).

“In the letter to the authorities in charge, I asked to tackle the “taxicab issue” at Riga Airport. This is a matter of Latvia’s reputation, tourism development and investment attraction,” Rinkevics said on Twitter.

In his letter, the minister calls the authorities’ attention to the quality and accessibility of the taxicab services that are provided in the airport’s territory. Rinkevics says in the letter that he has received several written and verbal complaints about the taxicab services at the airport from residents of Latvia and also foreign travelers.

One of the complaints, for example, is that passengers, particularly foreigners, are charged an excessive fare for a ride from the airport to downtown Riga. Although there are plenty of taxicabs around, passengers often have to wait for a long time until they can get one, Rinkevics said.

“The situation with the unreasonably high fares that are often charged for the taxicab services and availability of these services is undermining Latvia’s reputation, harming the Latvian tourism industry and creating a negative impression of Latvia to potential investors from foreign countries,” Rinkevics said, urging the authorities responsible for these issues to find a practical solution to the situation.

As reported, as of September 6, 2017, the taxi lane at Riga International Airport has been included in the airport’s P1 short-term parking area in accordance with the Administrative Court’s ruling.

The airport’s administration has criticized the court ruling saying that the new arrangement restricts access to the taxi lane and causes traffic disruptions as too many taxicabs are simultaneously jockeying for space in the parking area, which in accordance with the court ruling can be freely used by any transport vehicle.

In May 2018, Riga Airport CEO Ilona Lice admitted in an interview that the number of complaints about taxicab services at Riga International Airport had been growing. “The number of complaints is growing with each day. Clients get cheated, they are not carried on short-distance routes, for instance, to Marupe, there are problems with receipts and fair prices, but we are unable to do anything about it,” Lice said, noting that a court ruling prevented the airport from dealing with the situation.

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