French Taxi Drivers Protest Uber
In recent years, Uber has shaken up the traditional taxicab industry.
The cars are clean and reliable. The drivers are friendly. The pricing is competitive. And consumers can track their ride’s arrival, as well as submit payment, through the app on their phone. It’s no wonder the company has become so popular.
But the company’s success hasn’t come without a few ruffled feathers. More than a few, actually…
In California, a court’s decision to classify Uber drivers as employees instead of contractors could have dire consequences for the company financially.
In China, the Ministry of Transport released draft legislation that would essentially require Uber to operate as a taxi company, slowing its expansion in the country.
And now, French taxi drivers have gone on strike, protesting Uber and other similar competitors.
Hundreds of protestors, mostly taxi drivers from France, Belgium, and Spain, blocked traffic on the Port Maillot motorway in Paris on Tuesday. It didn’t take long for the event to turn violent, with protestors lighting fires in the road and clashing with police in riot gear.
Police were forced to control the crowd with tear gas, and about 20 protestors were arrested.
Uber has already faced legal troubles in France once before.
In September, the Constitutional Council in France upheld a law banning UberPop, Uber’s cheapest service, which used drivers without a professional license.
Following the most recent protests, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls promised to ensure that private car services follow the existing regulations, which were designed to even the playing field between traditional licensed taxi drivers and private car services.
But taxi drivers say the government simply isn’t doing enough to protect their industry.
“We’ve been hearing the same things, we are told that a mediator will be designated but we’ve already had a mediator, the laws are there but their application is problematic.”
Only time will tell how the company fares, at home as well as abroad. In the meantime, Uber will have to figure out how to clear some of its biggest hurdles yet.