French Taxi Drivers Strike Over UberTaxi drivers are following a time-honored French tradition to register their discontent about Uber's ride-sharing business pushing in on their means of making a living: They're striking.
Taxi drivers are following a time-honored French tradition to register their discontent about Uber’s ride-sharing business pushing in on their means of making a living: They’re striking.
Tensions that were building in previous weeks had turned into an out-and-out clash by Thursday, as The Washington Post reports:
Taxi drivers complain that livery services like Uber unfairly undercut them and in recent weeks nearly 100 Uber drivers have been attacked, sometimes while carrying customers. One irritated taxi passenger was left with a broken face and black eye after he praised Uber.
“There are people who are willing to do anything to stop any competition,” said Thomas Meister, a spokesman for Uber. “We are only the symptom of a badly organized market.”
The French government, meanwhile, said nearly 500 legal cases have been filed across the country involving complaints about UberPop, the lowest cost service. Several drivers have had their cars impounded. The officials reiterated concerns about safety of passengers, insisting they are not protected in case of an accident by an UberPop driver.
Strikers darted by the dozens onto Paris’ ring road near a main entrance to the city to create traffic chaos, then dashed away as riot police tried to catch them. The Liberation newspaper said taxi drivers attacked a photographer. At the airports, police were checking entering cars in hopes of avoiding more violence.
[…] Serge Metz CEO of the G7 taxi service acknowledged room for improvement, especially in terms of quality of service that taxis offer, but said unfair competition was making drivers’ lives impossible.
“This is the first time we’ve had a multinational so cynical that, in every country where it operates, flouts the laws in place and lobbies with an army of lawyers and lobbyists to change the laws,” Metz said.
Oddly enough, alt-rocker Courtney Love happened to catch a ride in Paris with an Uber driver whose vehicle was attacked while she was in it. Love tweeted photos and updates from the scene: “François Hollande where are the fucking police??? is it legal for your people to attack visitors? Get your ass to the airport. Wtf???”
No word yet on whether the French president heeded Love’s call to action.
French taxi drivers are obliged to pay high fees to receive licenses to drive, which is in part fueling their anti-Uber stance. The Post relayed that the French government has brought UberPop to a standstill, but the company’s higher-priced service is still running.
–Posted by Kasia AndersonWait, before you go…
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