Uber “taxi” app faces Nordic opposition

First three trial cities in Scandinavia use app

Uber, the controversial smartphone app that has triggered protests from cities and taxi businesses around the world, launched yesterday in Copenhagen, Oslo and Helsinki – the company’s first three trial cities in Scandinavia. But already it has attracted criticism.

The app puts ordinary drivers in touch with passengers who need a ride. Users pay for the rides via their phones.

Norway’s Ministry of Transport thinks the US-developed technology is “clearly illegal” and is mounting a legal challenge.

“This is clearly illegal. If one is to take money for driving anyone or anything in Norway, one needs a licence, whether it is about a closed trial project or not,” Secretary of State Bård Hoksrud from Norway’s Ministry of Transport told the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.

He said that Uber had not received a licence from Oslo’s city government for transporting people for money. Glenn Tuxen, head of the Oslo division of Norway’s Taxi Association, agreed, saying, “We do not believe what [Uber] are doing is legal.”

Jo Bertram, director of Uber in the UK and the Nordic countries, remains undeterred, telling news agency NTB: “We are about to target drivers and will invite Norwegians who register with us to try our service for around half a year. […] We want to investigate whether this can be done within Norwegian law. We are considering letting a third party evaluate this for us.”

NTB/The Local

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