Uber in Finland? Cops Say Hail No

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Police in Helsinki are asking residents to skip the fare and call the cops if they spot an Uber driver within city limits.

Cops sent out a tweet Friday asking people to call emergency services (112 if you live in Finland, apparently) so authorities could have a chat with the enterprising driver. It’s illegal to operate a cab without a license, according to the Helsinki Sanomat (via Slashdot via Jack Baruth), and police are using citizen reports and even sting operations to crack down on the drivers.

It’s unclear if police are arresting or fining the Uber drivers.

Uber lists Helsinki as one of the cities it currently services, despite the crackdown by authorities.

When Uber launched in Finland last year, officials praised the company and its services.

“Uber is a good example of what digitization can offer. It creates new possibilities,” Silja Ruokola, a senior government adviser at the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, told the Helsinki Times in 2014.

Cabs in Finland are fairly expensive. On top of a €7 ($7.75) origination fee, riders pay €2 per kilometer. A typical 10 km cab ride would cost about €24 to €36 ($26 to $40 USD). A similar cab fare in Manhattan would cost roughly $25.

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  • Mopar4wd Mopar4wd on Aug 12, 2015

    I'm fine with disruption and I like the concept of uber. But über itself is pretty much one of the worst companies ever they give new meaning to bad corporate citizen. You can watch companies like tesla work around existing rules while working to get legislation in their favor. This seems to me to be the correct way. There is something wrong with a company that moves in and decides the rules simply do not apply. It's not all about Medalllions either. Even in states that just have requirements for livery plates and background checks, über has refused to comply. In Australia there drivers are regularly fined über has taken the stand to simply pay the fines and continue breaking the law, the goal seems to be to annoy and outspend the regulators into giving up. Again the taxi industry needs saving and the concept of uber is ok , but the execution leaves much to be desired. I actually just had an idea "cargo sharing" here in ct there is no weight limit on towing if it's for non commercial purposes. I can have all the guys with diesel pickups and race car trailers start hauling "cargo" that just happens to be going where they are (just like ride sharing). I can then use state reproprocity to allow the drivers to travel nation wide with no CDL commercial tags or dot numbers and no road taxes. Plus no other commercial vehicle restrictions. Imagine 35' enclosed trailers with 30,000 lbs of freight being towed by your average Camry driver for 1$ a mile it will be awesome.

  • Orenwolf Orenwolf on Aug 12, 2015

    @pch101, You're trying /really/ hard, but they aren't a monopoly. Yes, uber has raised tons of money. A huge portion of that has gone into regulatory lobbying that is not looking for "uber exemptions", but ride sharing exemptions. Clear victory for the second mover here, they don't need to spend that money. Another huge portion of that money has been in worldwide expansion. Barrier to entry there for sure, but uber *already* faces local competition in some local markets, and almond at certainly will further when the taxi conglomerates start to compete on features and price instead of with rhetoric. Behaving like a monopoly is a nonissue here because they aren't one - unlike Microsoft, they do not have the ability to cause vendor lock-in or, critically, charge whatever they want for a product, which is a key defined for a monopoly. They are gaining market share by undercutting. Windows used to cost hundreds of dollars and even free OSs couldn't compete because vendors were precluded from putting other os's on their systems. Uber has no such power. It's like saying Walmart has a monopoly on retail. They are huge and have massive buying power, but Target still undercuts them sometimes, and critically, no one *has* to shop there. Are there barriers to entry at a global scale? Of course. At a local scale? Less do, and uber is actually making it *easier* for competition in local markets. And most existing taxi "monopolies" are local.

    • See 7 previous
    • Pch101 Pch101 on Aug 13, 2015

      @Pch101 Yes, the wonderful world of unregulated cabs leads to the abuse of customers. We license cabs to screen out some of the worst characters from driving them and to provide opportunities for recourse when the drivers behave badly. Having experienced this sort of thing firsthand in the places where there are few or no rules, I'm glad that we have the rules. Having some jerk who tries to get your disoriented so that he can run up the cost is not the sort of thing that we should welcome, even if the internet Atlas Shrugged crowd finds such ripoffs to be glorious.

  • Orenwolf Orenwolf on Aug 12, 2015

    Reality will provide all the confirmation required. Convenient, that.

  • CJinSD CJinSD on Aug 13, 2015

    I don't know about Finland, but anyone defending the taxicab monopolies of the US has about as much credibility as Hillary Clinton.