Latvia moves towards regulating rideshare apps

A memorandum for understanding will be signed on Wednesday between the Economics Ministry and ridesharing service providers Uber and Taxify. According to Taxify regional manager Juris Krūmiņš, it will be a significant step in the development of ridesharing services in Latvia, reported Latvian Radio Wednesday.

"I think that [signing the memorandum] is an important step for regulating the activities of rideshare service providers in Latvia," said Krūmiņš. 

He said the memorandum is important for setting the rules and obligations on what these digital platforms should be, as well as working out the requirements for becoming a driver in one of these platforms.

According to Krūmiņš, it would also help reducing the shadow economy.

"The lack of legislation regulating this new service and industry is stunting its development [in Latvia]," said Krūmiņš.

"We hope for support from the Economics Ministry - that it will help us lead talks with the rest of the ministries, with the State Revenue Service and the rest of the parties involved in regulating this niche," he said.

While Uber is not yet operating in Latvia, Taxify already provides services to taxi companies and passengers.

Taxify operates mostly in Eastern Europe. In Latvia, it's available in Valmiera and Rīga. 

Last September a cabby using Taxify had his car confiscated for driving without a taxi driver's license. 

Later Wednesday Economics Minister Arvils Ašeradens told the press that the necessary legislation for including ridesharing services into Latvia's economic model could be prepared sometime during the second half of the year.

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