Uber is Back in Finland Thanks to Deregulation

Uber believes it can thrive in an environment with fewer restrictions.

Uber
Eric Risberg—AP

Uber is restarting ride-hailing operations in Finland after a one-year hiatus, thanks to changes in the country's transportation regulations, reports Reuters. It's a major victory for Uber, which has come under increased pressure from regulators and taxi drivers in Europe.

Finland previously allowed Uber to operate within its borders only if drivers held valid taxi licenses, something that isn't required in many other countries. But Uber still became the target of police investigations, and drivers were forced to give up their earnings to the state for not having the proper permits, according to Reuters.

This situation led Uber to cease operations in Finland last year, but the company is back thanks to new, less-strict regulations that took effect July 1. The new rules removed a cap on the number of taxi licenses the government issues annually and removed restrictions on fares.

Uber relaunched its UberX and UberBlack services in Finland on the afternoon of July 4 in the capital of Helsinki, as well as Espoo, Vantaa, and Kaunianen. More than a quarter million people in the Helsinki area have opened the Uber app since August, despite ride-hailing services not being available, Joel Jarvinen, Uber Nordics general manager, said in an interview with Reuters.

Uber also recently regained its license to operate in London, but only by agreeing to be on probation for 15 months. The company has fought a country-by-country battle in Europe, where it faces much greater scrutiny from regulators than in the United States, as well as vocal groups of taxi drivers, who believe Uber represents unfair competition.