Uber bows down, suspends low cost service in France

Following violent protests and detention of two executives this week, US firm announces suspension of UberPOP in France

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Uber Technologies said on Friday that it will stop its ride-hailing service UberPOP in France after two of its executives were taken into custody and faced violent protests from licensed taxi drivers.

"We have decided to suspend UberPOP in France from 1800 GMT this Friday evening, primarily to assure the safety of Uber drivers," Uber France head Thibaud Simphal told French daily Le Monde.

“The second reason is that we want to create a spirit of reconciliation and dialogue with public authorities to show we are acting responsibly.”

On June 25 almost 3,000 licensed taxi drivers in France blocked roads to airports, overturned cars and burned tires to protest against Uber.

According to police records, some 70 cars were damaged and seven police officers were injured with ten people being arrested.

Simphal and Uber Western Europe’s General Manager Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty were taken into the custody after the company refused to comply with a ban in January which couldn’t be enforced.

Taxi drivers argue that they face unfair competition from the US firm since Uber drivers do not need to pay income tax and welfare charges along with significant license fees.

In its defence, Uber claims that its service is complementing that of licensed taxi drivers. Uber says it has had 400,000 customers in Paris and 10,000 drivers since it began to operate in France in 2011.

Founded in 2010 and backed by Goldman Sachs and Google, Uber is valued at more than $40 billion and offers services in 270 cities worldwide.

TRTWorld and agencies