Reader ‘s opinion The reform of transport services in Western Uusimaa is a weakening

Cars that take care of the rides from 11 pm to 6 am, on weekends and holidays, have no on-call duty.

Safe and a functioning transport service system for 8,500 disabled and elderly people will be run down in Western Uusimaa. The service will be reformed, citing the need for taxi availability, smoothness and savings as justifications. The new system Länsi-Uusimaa Transport Center, built under the leadership of Espoo, will start operating on November 3, 2020.

We doubt the functionality of the new system. First, the availability of taxis is declining. Cars that take care of the rides from 11 pm to 6 am, on weekends and holidays, have no on-call duty. Rides only need to be received when the Access Center application is activated. Activation is optional. The pre-determined price level before the required discounts is below the break-even point. In addition, service, grant and slow travel allowances important for income generation have been removed. The application will not be activated for many drivers.

User insecurity is increasing. The travel card will be removed and the Travel Center will not subsequently replace trips made with other service providers’ cars in situations where the cars have not been available or the ordering system has failed.

Drivers are required to have A2 language skills. It is unable to receive driving instructions let alone communicate with a speech-impaired person. Responsibility for the safety of transport service users and the availability of the service remains with the municipality, even if the service is outsourced.

The use of the service becomes more difficult. If the user of the service is not able to move independently, he will have to order an assistant for even simple operations such as mailing a letter. The driver no longer assists during the transaction stop. If the transaction takes more than ten minutes due to queues, for example, the customer loses one of their few trips.

The driver has previously been granted a customer-specific service and assistance supplement, which has been EUR 4.5–15.70 at a time, depending on the equipment. In the future, during the trip, the grant will be handled by an assistant paid by the municipality. The cost is 20-40 euros.

Short-term savings can be achieved both by reducing motorists’ compensation and by making the transport service cumbersome and unsafe. What is the real cost of the reform?

Utilizing the current system and granting users the right to a standard taxi would provide a safe and smooth transport service. Brokerage costs would be reduced and the availability of taxis in sparsely populated areas would be guaranteed.

Mia Lohman

severely related to a visually impaired transport service user

Jari Hindström

taxi operator

Mika Välimaa

Lawyer, Threshold Association

Reader opinions are speeches written by HS readers, selected and delivered by HS editorial. You can leave a comment or learn about the principles of writing at www.hs.fi/kirjtamielipidekirjoitus/.

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