Ride-sharing service Uber’s plan to organize the millions of people with cars and time and their hands into a money-making machine is running into a more than a few snags. On Monday, the French government announced that it planned to ban UberPop, an app that lets users arrange rides with privately-owned cars, in the back drop of a protest work stoppage by taxi drivers and private transport companies that has blocked the streets of Paris. The cabbies say that UberPop is allowing unlicensed private drivers to undercut their business.
Statement from French Interior Ministry spokesman
Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesperson for the French interior ministry, said in a radio interview on Monday “Not only is it illegal to offer this [UberPop] service but additionally for the consumer there is a real danger.” He continued to say the French government is implementing a ban that will take effect from January 1 next year.
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Statement from Uber
Uber released a statement on Monday claiming that the company was “part of the solution, not part of the problem”.
“We continue to have an open dialogue with all relevant stakeholders and believe we share the same objectives, namely to integrate innovative solutions into the mobility mix in France as well as to keep Paris moving, offering different safe, reliable and affordable transportation options for people,” a spokesperson said.
More on the protest against Uber in Paris
A protest was called by three groups in Paris on Monday against “unfair competition” after a French court decision late last week to not ban UberPop, which allows you to register as a driver using your own private car with no license, and is the firm’s lowest-cost fare option.
As part of the protest, close to 200 French taxi drivers blocked the main roads heading to busy Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on Monday morning.
Uber facing regulatory issues worldwide
Earlier this month, a Dutch court ruled that the UberPop service violated regional taxi laws, while on the same day, New Delhi banned Uber from operating in the city after one of its drivers was accused of rape.
later that week, a judge in Spain also banned Uber, and Berlin has also banned the ride-sharing enterprise. Of note, Thailand has also determined that Uber is operating illegally, and the firm has had to deal with numerous other regulatory hurdles in operations in 50 countries and 250 cities.