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Uber: "We'll support drivers"

The head of Uber Finland says the company will support its drivers who run afoul of the law. Uber drivers in Helsinki now potentially face criminal charges if police catch them working for the smartphone-based chauffeur service.

Uber -sovelus puhelimen näytöllä.
Image: Antti Kolppo / Yle

Previously, Uber drivers faced only misdemeanour fines when driving for the company. On Tuesday it was revealed that Helsinki police are cracking down on Uber chauffeurs in the form of criminal charges and the possibility of fines equalling all of their earnings.

General Manager of Uber Finland, Joel Järvinen, called the development unfortunate and said the company would support their drivers.

"It is important to note that these cases are not directed at the company, but individual drivers," Järvinen told Yle. "But our driving partners are supported in various ways, in different situations. We [also] support them in the form of challenging this law."

"The kind of support we are providing is between [Uber] and the drivers, and I cannot comment any further," Järvinen said.

The penalties for driving an illegal taxi in Finland can range from fines up to six months in jail. Some 50 Uber drivers are facing charges in Helsinki, according to police, and more may be on the way.

"At the moment I'm following with interest the Ministry of Transport and Communications' transportation plan, which provides a forward-looking vision about how a modern, ride sharing digital service could be implemented in Finland," Järvinen said.

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