A customer holds an Apple Inc. iPhone displaying the Uber Technologies Inc. car service taxi application (app) logo as a vehicle passes by in this arranged photograph in Budapest, Hungary. (Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg)

Uber Returns to Finland After Change to Transport Laws

(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. said it will relaunch its ride-hailing services in Finland following a year-long suspension, after a new transportation law came into effect this week.

The San Francisco-based company had suspended its operations in Finland last year, pending the implementation of the new law.

"Those new regulations have now come into effect and so we’re delighted to relaunch in Helsinki today," said Joel Jarvinen, Uber’s general manager for the Nordics.

Finland’s move overhauls what was previously a strictly regulated transport market and supports new business models, including digitization and new technologies, the government’s transport ministry says on its website.

Uber drivers in the country had been facing possible criminal prosecution and hefty fines as part of a police crackdown against drivers who lack the required taxi permits. But journeys are set to restart in the Helsinki region as soon as Wednesday afternoon and will feature professional and licensed drivers under its UberX and Uber Black services.

The move comes as part of efforts by the company’s new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, to repair relationships with local regulators and reverse what has been an unprecedented time of turmoil. Uber and Careem Networks FZ are in preliminary talks to combine their Middle Eastern ride-hailing services, hoping to resolve a costly rivalry as Uber prepares for an initial public offering next year, according to three people familiar with the matter.

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