French taxi drivers engage in a nationwide protest against Uber’s superior business model. Keeping with tradition, the French government quickly surrenders.
Learning nothing from the luddites of two hundred years ago, French taxi drivers spawned in their thousands for a protest over major French cities against taxi service company Uber, for their UberPOP service.
For those who haven’t heard of the service before, Uber allows customers to connect to registered drivers instantly to get a low-cost personal taxi service with short wait times and other features such as tracking your friends to make sure they arrive safely and automatic splitting of fares.
Of course, if you’re a regular taxi driver that makes their living by complaining about other road users, driving aggressively to cyclists and ‘taking short-cuts’, Uber is a pain in the arse.
It is reported that French taxi drivers, who have to pay thousands of euros to get a license to carry passengers have lost between 30% – 40% of their income over two years because of the growth of UberPOP,
After a day of sometimes violent protests, France’s interior minister crumbled under pressure and chose to interfere with the free market by ordering a ban on the low-cost car-sharing service.
Thomas Meister, a spokesperson for Uber confirmed that the company has been challenging the law which makes UberPOP illegal and has accused the interior minister of hijacking normal legal processes.
Uber has experienced similar growth problems worldwide, with traditional taxi companies being slow to adopt the technology that has allowed Uber to offer a better service.