Taxi license applicants will probably have to prove their residence and their work permit in the Czech Republic. This envisages a proposal of the Ministry of Transportation, which should prevent foreign taxi drivers without work permits, states Filip Medelský from the Ministry of Transportation. The proposal is a part of an amendment to the Road Transportation Act, which changes the rules for operating taxi services.
The amendment itself brings several fundamental changes. For example, the obligation to have a taximeter or roof lamp in the vehicle should be abandoned. Besides, certain powers of cities to regulate taxis, such as topography tests, should be limited.
Now, the ministry has modified the amendment, identifying the rules for proving residence and work permits of foreign taxi driver license applicants. Foreigners from outside the EU will need to provide proof of a permit to municipal authorities when applying for a license.
Prague City Hall, for example, applied for the possibility to check the work permits of applicants for a license. The Office is not yet able to carry out these checks. The municipality has issued around 1300 driving licenses to drivers from so-called third countries outside the EU in the last two years alone.
Carriers usually agree with the change. According to the director of Lifatgo, Ondřej Krátký, without the modification, the amendment would favor drivers from abroad. “Today, the authorities cannot check whether the applicant has a driving license, let alone a work permit,” he said. Bolt also agrees with the change and welcomes the possibility for drivers to apply for a license with any transportation office.
There are several third-country nationals among transportation service drivers, especially with alternative mobile platforms. There are over 2000 of them in Prague. According to experts, there are even more of them operating without a license. For example, Novinky.cz server reported in January a case where Prague police officers detained a driver who was transporting customers without permission and showed up with an Uzbek passport, a Ukrainian driving license, and a Polish visa.
Taxi drivers have long criticized the government for not sufficiently enforcing legal conditions against alternative carriers. According to them, Uber and Taxify violate the law because their drivers drive without a license, and they may not meet the same conditions as conventional taxi operators. These obligations now include, in particular, a mandatory taximeter, vehicle identification, and topography tests.