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Taxi Association demands Uber intervention

Finnish Police counter the Taxi Association's request and say that monitoring should be equal - not merely a tool to single out one operator.

Henkilö käyttää Uber-sovellusta älypuhelimella.
Image: Peter Schiazza / Uber

The Finnish Taxi Association would like authorities to step in and deal with unauthorised cab traffic in the same manner that authorities in other countries have dealt with controversial ride-sharing services.

Specifically in the Association's line of fire is the American company Uber, whose UberPOP service has recently run into trouble in many countries.

Uber’s service connects customers who need a ride with available drivers via a smart phone app.

While in Finland an Uber ride requires a transport license, many other Uber activities go uncurbed according to the Association.

“In the field and online it’s apparent that there are drivers and entrepreneurs who don’t have a license or any taxi driving experience. They also don’t necessarily pay taxes or taxi operating insurance fees. If this kind of activity surfaces, it needs to be dealt with,” says the Association’s head of communications Sakari Lauriala.

He suggests a model of action could be taken from Finland's next-door neighbours.

”In Sweden, transport authorities recently declared UberPOP to be a taxi service that requires official permits for the company and its drivers. There the situation is being taken much more seriously," says Lauriala.

In March, the Association sent the Police Board a request for action related to unauthorised taxi traffic.

According to Lauriala, the Association is still awaiting a reply.

Police Chief Risto Lammi confirmed that the Association had been in touch. But while the Finnish Police Board says that overseeing traffic is their responsibility, Lammi emphasised that monitoring needs to be equal: one operator can’t be singled out.

Uber under scrutiny in many countries

In France, Uber has been declared illegal and the company's operations caused taxi drivers to march in protest. Last week, Uber announced that it was withdrawing from the French market.

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