Reykjavik Taxi Crackdown: 48 Drivers Face Charges Skip to content

Reykjavik Taxi Crackdown: 48 Drivers Face Charges

By Ragnar Tómas

Taxi in Iceland's capital, Reykjavík
Photo: Photo: Golli. Taxis in Reykjavík.

The Reykjavík Metropolitan Police inspected 105 taxis in downtown Reykjavik last weekend, resulting in charges against 48 drivers and re-inspection summons for 32. The Chairperson of a local taxi drivers’ association has argued the number of charges is not high given the total number of licences, although emphasising the need for continued and expanded oversight.

Forty-eight drivers face charges

In extensive operations conducted last weekend, the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police inspected 105 taxis operating in downtown Reykjavik. Forty-eight taxi drivers now face charges. Of these, 32 have also been summoned to present their vehicles for re-inspection.

In an interview with RÚV yesterday, Chief Inspector Unnar Már Ástþórsson stated that the operation was carried out with the assistance of police forces from West and South Iceland. Additionally, representatives from the Iceland Revenue and Customs Authority and the Icelandic Transport Authority were involved. A total of 16 personnel participated in the operation.

“The reason for this inspection was that we had received reports from taxi drivers’ associations, the drivers themselves, and the public that there were deficiencies among taxi drivers and vehicles,” Unnar stated.

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As noted by RÚV, most of the violations were related to equipment deficiencies, although there were also issues with operating licences and driving permits: “For instance, a substitute driver is not allowed to drive a taxi without a driving permit, and we encountered this issue,” Unnar stated. “We also found that some vehicles were not registered for taxi service. There were various other issues that we encountered during this inspection as well.”

Oversight is crucial

In an interview with Mbl.is yesterday, Daníel O. Ein­ars­son, Chairperson of the Federation of Icelandic Taxi Drivers, maintained that the number of charges faced by dozens of taxi drivers following last weekend’s operations were not high. Daníel observed that there were over 900 taxi licences in Iceland in total and only 105 had been inspected.

“This is a very small number,” Daníel told Mbl.is. “They said they only inspected 105 vehicles.”

“But that’s 48 out of 105, right?” reporter Ellen Geirsdóttir Håkansson retorted.

“Yes, but I can tell you that in Norway a month ago, Oslo police inspected 368 cars and only 38 had everything in order,” Daníel maintained. “Of 368 cars, only 38 were compliant, while 275 received one or more warnings for corrections, 50 were banned from operation, and 5 were impounded.”

Daníel went on to explain that deregulation had led to an influx of new drivers unfamiliar with the rules in Iceland. He also stated that he welcomed the recent police inspection but highlighted the need for more consistent and widespread supervision, especially in rural areas, to ensure public safety. Daníel called for ongoing inspections, monitoring of unmarked vehicles, and suggested the use of coloured licence plates to mark inspected taxis so as to enhance passenger safety, reiterating that oversight is crucial for maintaining safety standards.

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