While Uber might be popular amongst consumers, taxi services won’t be sending the company any Christmas cards this year.
Many cities in the U.S. have struggled with allowing ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft to exist among taxi services. What’s happening overseas might really dictate what happens to the both companies over here. In Paris right now, cab drivers have blocked traffic in protest of Uber.
According to the Telegraph:
French taxi drivers on Monday brought chaos to roads ringing Paris in a “go slow” or “escargot protest” against the spread of Uber’s popular smartphone taxi service, which turns anyone into a minicab chauffeur.
UberPOP is different from their other, more expensive, services – such as Uber X, which requires that drivers have a permit. UberPOP uses non-professional drivers using their own cars to take on passengers at cut-price rates, and has 160,000 users in France, according to the company.
Drivers of existing Parisian taxis called the protest after a commercial court ruled on Friday that a new law making it harder for Uber drivers to operate could not be enforced until the government had published full details of the restrictions.
“This is a fight against Uber in general,” said Ibrahima Sylla, president of Taxis de France. “We’ve had enough and can’t take it anymore. To authorise UberPOP means driving 57,000 French taxi drivers off the road – that’s 57,000 families. It’s out of the question.”
Speaking to Le Parisien, one driver said: “We are up against unfair competition. We are dealing with people who pay virtually no charges, they don’t pay taxes. We don’t get any of these favours.”
With the protests hitting headlines on Monday morning, the French government assured the striking cabbies that a ban on UberPOP would be enforced in the New Year – despite last Friday’s court ruling.
“The law will come into force on January 1 and will punish with a two-year prison term and 300,000-euro fine anyone organising a system pairing up customers with people who are neither taxis nor VTCs, or Voitures de Tourisme avec Chauffeur (tourist car hire services),” said Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for the interior ministry.
He added that the timing for the legislation had been “scrupulously respected” and that French courts had “already recognised the illegal nature of the UberPOP service by convicting this company for deception in October.”
Uber is currently fighting with several cities across the U.S. as well as cities and cabbies have to adjust to the new model of transportation.