What is the difference between white and yellow license plates ?

Currently, there are two types of service providers available in Latvia that provide commercial passenger transportation by car – taxis and the so-called “white numbers”. The Road Transport Directorate points out that, although the passenger receives a seemingly identical service – a journey to the chosen destination – the way to apply for and pay for the service is different. Institutions that issue documents so that a merchant can provide this service also differ. At the same time, absolutely all drivers who carry out commercial passenger transport by car must be registered in the Taxi Driver Register.

Amendments to the Law on Road Transport , which concerns the commercial transport of passengers by taxi and car, entered into force on 12 July 2019. The changes in the law also increase the requirements in the regulation of tariff information and determine the duties and responsibilities of the carrier and the driver. More information on commercial passenger transport by taxi and car can be found in the publication of the LV portal  “Changes in the Road Transport Law – also for commercial passenger transport by taxi” .

Calling and billing

 The passenger can apply for taxi services:

  • by telephone, calling the telephone number specified by the selected service provider;
  • through the application / website;
  • renting a taxi on the street.

You can pay for the taxi ride in cash or non-cash. The Road Administration (AD) draws attention to the fact that payment must be made after the journey on the basis of a taximeter. In turn, after payment, the passenger must receive a check. In addition, AD points out that taxis have the right to travel on public transport, which is an advantage during congestion.

In contrast, so-called  “white number”  service providers, such as “Bolt” or “Yandex”, can only be hired through an application / website. In addition, you can only pay for the trip through the specific application / website. “The car does not have to be equipped with a taximeter to provide such commercial transport,” explains AD.

Taxi identification signs and number plates

The taxi  can be identified by the number plate that

  • starts with TQ or TX (also EX if it is an electric car);
  • is yellow.

AD also points out that the car must have a taxi sign and a light control in the passenger compartment behind the windscreen.

On  the other hand, a trader whose service can only be applied for through an application / website must have information about the carrier and the service provider of the relevant website / mobile application on the front passenger door of the car. “If a trader offers his services through both Yandex and Bolt, there must be signs on both doors on the car door,” AD cites as an example. AD also points out that the car number plate is white for these service providers.

Drivers must be registered

All drivers providing commercial passenger transport by car must be registered in the  Taxi Driver Register maintained by the AD . “The fact that the driver has registered is evidenced by the issued registration certificate, which must be on the front panel of the car during the journey,” explains AD.

License and license cards

In addition, in order for a trader to offer taxi services to passengers, he must obtain a license and a license card for each car used for the service. These documents are issued by nine cities of national importance and five planning regions.

For example, if a merchant wants to provide  taxi  services only in the territory of Riga, he will be issued a license and a license card by the Riga City Council, AD explains. Continuing the AD indicates that if the transportation is planned to be performed in the entire Riga region, the license and license card issued by the Riga planning region must also be received.

For operators providing commercial passenger transport by  car with a “white number” , the license and license card are issued to the AD. It is valid for transportation throughout the territory of Latvia.



Since the summer, taxis have become less and less visible on the streets of Riga. If you manage to “convene” it, you have to pay for almost half of the trip more than a year ago, but you often have to wait an hour and even more instead of the previous ten minutes. There are even cases when taxis fail to do so. Let’s explain where the taxis are?

Since the summer, state structures have launched a real war against taxi drivers, as a result of which hundreds of drivers have given up this concern. To be fair, this “war” is not without reason. So far, many taxi drivers have noticed not paying taxes, do not speak the state language and have other offenses. A pandemic has also played its part, during which many taxi drivers have retrained and now earn their daily bread in a different way.




Passengers curse and make a fuss ?

If taxis are simultaneously “attacked” by the State Revenue Service and the State Language Center, the Road Transport Directorate and the Riga City Council, as well as the evil coward and the “passing” passengers, then logically many taxi drivers cannot withstand this pressure and no longer want to carry passengers. On the other hand, those who have overcome all difficulties can now raise prices. And this applies to both Bolt and traditional dachshunds. Here are just a few taxi passenger complaints in recent days:

* “Yesterday I needed a taxi. I waited for an hour on the street for a taxi, but nothing was even searched. I called the operator twice to find a car because it was cold and raining outside. First, the automatic chat robot reply was sent in Russian and I had to wait another 15 minutes. Intolerable! ”

* “I had to wait almost two hours for a taxi to take me from the Jugla paper mill to Jugla. Very disappointing for many years! ”

* “There is simply nothing to say! If it were the first time, I wouldn’t say anything. I called a taxi at 16:25 to go to the hospital with the baby. I’m waiting for the car. 17:00 calls and says – unfortunately you have not found a car yet. It takes time. 17:30 the same! I call myself and ask, “When will it be?” I understand that there will be no cars … In May, it was exactly the same – I didn’t expect a taxi ”.



Taxpayers " tyranize

Not only is it difficult to call a taxi, but fares have also halved in the last few months. And this is due to the fact that now the State Revenue Service (SRS) is forcing taxi drivers to move from the gray area to the white area.

If a few years ago it was estimated that about 80% of taxi drivers work in the gray area, now it will be mostly impossible. This year, the SRS has announced taxis as the target of its “attack” and since July 1, it has required the taxi driver to send data about the trip and the collected fee to the SRS online from the cash register / meter immediately after its completion. Thus, the SRS can immediately see for what amounts the trips have been made and how much of it should be collected in taxes.

The SRS estimates that taxi drivers did not pay around seven million euros in taxes last year when manipulating the data. Doubts about the data provided by taxi companies were caused by the fact that they showed that the average salary of taxi drivers was 261 euros per month, which is difficult to understand.

As a result, taxpayers have come up with a way to force taxi drivers to account fairly for the money they collect, using smart cash registers / meters. Of course, many taxi drivers were not at peace with this and left such lucrative care in the past.



Requires Latvian language

Simultaneously with these “inconveniences”, the State Language Center has also been involved in taxi drivers, which this year requires all taxi drivers to take the state language exam in person (although not at the highest level, but at the B1 level). It is no longer possible to work as a taxi driver with forged and circumvented certificates of knowledge of the state language.

The requirements for knowledge of the Latvian language are even so strict that drivers who have graduated from Latvian schools must also pass such an examination. As a result, neither Indians nor Uzbeks can be seen behind the wheel of a taxi, as was the case very recently. Although the language requirements for taxi drivers have not expanded, only about ten taxi drivers are refused a month due to ignorance of the language. Due to the “tax tax reform”, significantly more taxi drivers have left their jobs – several hundred.

The statement issued by the Road Transport Directorate three months ago has also added fuel to the fire: Citizens can send the information to the Road Transport Directorate, which will forward it to the responsible authority for review.

In order for the responsible institution – the State Police, the municipal police, the municipal control service or the State Language Center – to turn to the carrier and / or the driver of the car. The Directorate for Road Transport has drawn up guidelines on the information to be provided by passengers. ‘



Victims of the Kovida pandemic

Last year, when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, many taxi drivers were forced to retrain because there were simply no more passengers: the flow of tourists slowed down, but the locals did not go anywhere – they were sitting at home. In 2020, taxi turnover fell by as much as 70%. In the middle of this year, the situation started to improve, but taxi drivers have now been turned into “hatching boys” and many do not want to be like that. To be fair, taxi drivers are not always without sin.

Many have not been able to withstand such “mobbing” and no longer sit behind the wheel of a taxi. Several hundred taxi drivers have retrained in the last year, mostly moving to work in the construction industry or becoming vendors of food and other goods.

The Register of Taxi Drivers, maintained by the Road Transport Directorate, shows that there are now at least about a thousand fewer taxi drivers than a year ago. There are currently around 6,000 registered taxi drivers across the country. But this does not mean that they are all “on the line” – they can only work as taxi drivers, but when and whether to work at all, but everyone decides for themselves.


This year, 1,650 taxi drivers has disapeared

Zane Plone, Head of Public Relations at the Road Transport Directorate, told

‘Taxi services are licensed by planning regions and cities. This means that the city / planning region issues a license to the carrier and a license card for each car that provides services, and taxi companies can only carry passengers in the specific administrative area where they are licensed. The Road Transport Directorate, on the other hand, licenses commercial passenger transport by car, which can be called and paid for using a mobile app. In Latvia, this type of service is currently provided by two companies – Bolt and Yandex. Licenses and license cards issued by the Directorate are valid for transportation throughout Latvia. 

The register of taxi drivers registers both taxi drivers and those who provide commercial passenger transport by car (for example, using a mobile app). In the register of taxi drivers, drivers are not divided by region, because by registering in this register, services can be provided anywhere in Latvia.  

In recent months, the Road Transport Directorate has received four complaints about the commercial carriage of passengers by car, including a taxi. Topics complained about by passengers: the driver refused to accommodate a person in a wheelchair; the service was provided by a taxi driver who was not registered in the Register of Taxi Drivers; the service was provided by a driver of a car who has registered in the Register of Taxi Drivers with a forged driving license; the driver did not know the official language. 

Taking into account that carriers register taxi tariffs in the Traffic Department of the Riga City Council and each carrier is entitled to set the price of services, the Road Transport Directorate does not have data on the amount of increase in fares in taxis. In addition, tariffs may be variable and the Riga City Council Traffic Department will probably not be able to provide information on which tariffs the carrier uses.

Taksometru tarifu palielinājuma viens no galvenajiem iemesliem ir saistāms ar to, ka no 1. jūlija taksometru vadītājiem un mobilajām lietotnēm dati par katru braucienu uzreiz pēc tā pabeigšanas ir tiešsaistē jāsūta Valsts ieņēmumu dienestam. Tādējādi VID saņem informāciju par veiktajiem braucieniem un var pārbaudīt, vai abas puses tos visus ir deklarējušas, kāda bijusi katra brauciena maksa, vai nodokļi tiek maksāti atbilstoši reālajam apgrozījumam un tamlīdzīgi. Ja VID konstatēs, ka mobilo lietotņu iesniegtie dati nesakrīt ar taksometru skaitītāja datiem, pārvadātājs riskē ne tikai saņemt soda naudu, bet tam var tikt apturēta saimnieciskā darbība un anulēta licence. Līdz ar šīm izmaiņām pārvadātāji ir nonākuši caurredzamā sistēmā, kurā ir mazākas iespējas nelikumīgi optimizēt izmaksas uz nesamaksāto nodokļu rēķina”.

Kā liecina Taksometru vadītāju reģistrs, tad šī gada pirmajos astoņos mēnešos taksistu skaits sarucis par 1650. Lūk, reģistrēto taksistu skaits pa šī gada mēnešiem:

January – 7965
February – 7974
March – 8003
April – 8058
May – 7763
June – 6682
July – 6408
August – 6335
September – 6315.