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In a first reading speech, the member of Economic Affairs Committee at the Parliament of Estonia, Kalle Palling today introduced draft ridesharing legislation to the Estonian parliament where he urged parliamentarians for their support.

If passed, the draft legislative proposal would place Estonia at the forefront of digital implementation and regulate ridesharing for the first time in Europe. Palling insists, however, that the issue at hand is much larger than that, as ridesharing is only a small part of a bigger trend.

“At the heart of the rapid growth of the sharing economy is a technology that allows you to use resources that had previously been capitalized inefficiently. Technology used by the sharing economy is able to massively increase efficiency in society,” said Palling.

In Tallinn for example, cars are left unused for 23 hours a day, with only an average of 1.3 people in each car when in use. At the same time, the cost of transport is responsible for more than 12% of average household’s expenditure. Through the use of technology, these cars can be used in a more efficient and flexible manner.

“In Tallinn I know a driver who shared his ride just to pay a €$300 dental bill – a goal which he achieved in a week’s time. There are politicians who drive when their children are at school. The coach of the successful women’s basketball team uses Taxify in his free time. There is also the beloved puppet theatre actress who earns extra money via Uber. And these are only some of the reasons why people choose to participate in the sharing economy,” said Palling.

Since launching their services, digital platforms such as Uber or Taxify have provided thousands of consumers with more choice and hundreds of people with flexible working opportunities. Ultimately this could boost the state’s tax income since the “sharing economy creates a completely new technical option for a simple and fair tax declarations” as has been illustrated by Uber’s cooperation with the Estonian Tax Board.

Palling finally also stressed that to reap the benefits of the sharing economy politicians need to be proactive:

“Let us admit today that the sharing economy is here to stay. The Internet can not be “shut off”. This means we need to be open to innovation, create the prerequisites for economic growth and new opportunities that come with it. Leave people with the freedom to share their property, freedom of earning . The choice is now yours.”

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