Estonian police: Uber users need a license to carry people
The North prefecture of the Estonian Police and Border Guard insists that drivers transporting passengers using the Uber app must have a corresponding operating license, and that doing it without a license constitutes an act of misdemeanor.
Kaja Friedemann, senior law enforcement official at the North prefecture, said that any passenger transport service regardless of the name given to it requires an operating license.
The North prefecture has so far had two misdemeanor cases related to Uber. One of them has come to a conclusion already.
"Since the man in question did not have a license, he committed a misdemeanor, or provision of paid passenger transport service without possession of the documents required by law. At the same time, it came out in the course of the investigation that the man was not aware of the unlawfulness of his actions, and as a result it was decided to end the misdemeanor proceeding this time and not to punish him," Friedemann told BNS.
Friedemann cited a ruling of the Supreme Court, which states that if a person is active in a specific field, which paid passenger transport service undoubtedly is, he or she must get sufficiently familiar with the legislative norms regulating the field.
"Yet considering all the circumstances of this case it was found that since Uber had taken up its activity in Estonia just five days before the incident, and it [the launch of business] was accompanied by different messages and information that was sometimes contradictory, the man interpreted things incorrectly without knowing that taxi service cannot be provided with just the Uber app without having the corresponding documents," Friedemann said.
The other misdemeanor case related to Uber is still being processed.
Uber launched the Uberpop urban ridesharing service in Tallinn in mid-May 2015, making Estonia its first Baltic country of business. The pilot program offers the ridesharing service via the Uber app, which users download from the Apple or Android webstore.
The Estonian Taxi Drivers’ Union slammed Uber as taxi piracy and insisted that the company's business in Estonia in its current form is unlawful and should be stopped.