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Uber drivers lose test case in Helsinki Court

The Helsinki District Court has ruled, for the first time, that the ride-sharing Uber service is an unauthorised form of entrepreneurship. The rulings were handed down in two trials of Uber drivers, and dozens more are awaiting investigation and prosecution.

Uber -sovelus puhelimen näytöllä.
A precedent has been set with the two recent rulings against Uber drivers. Image: Antti Kolppo / Yle

The Helsinki District Court has ruled in two cases that car rides offered through the Uber application constitute unauthorised taxi operations. Both drivers were ordered to pay fines and relinquish their earnings to the government. The rulings were the first of their kind in a district court concerning Uber entrepreneurship.

The court found that the drivers' actions counted as professional transportation necessitating a taxi operating license, which neither defendant had. One of the drivers racked up a profit of 2,800 euros while the other made some 12,250 euros.

The Uber ride-sharing app is used globally in hundreds of cities. In Finland the application has been in use since autumn 2014 in the Helsinki area.

Customers can order a ride through the application, and a driver registered with Uber receives the person's information. The passengers then pay Uber for the ride using their credit card information; the company transfers 80 percent of the fee to the driver and keeps 20 percent.

Police investigations and prosecutors are working on about 60 separate Uber cases in Finland currently.

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