Paris bans UberPOP as taxi drivers stage protest
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France’s interior ministry announced Monday that UberPOP, Uber’s amateur car service, will be banned in the country from 2015. The move came as taxi drivers staged a protest blocking traffic on major roadways from Paris’s main airports to the city.
The demonstration had been called by three different taxi groups in the French capital following a recent court decision not to ban UberPOP, a budget service that allows individuals to register as an Uber driver using his or her private car.
But shortly after the start of the protest, the interior ministry announced that UberPOP will be banned in France as of January 1 in compliance with a new law regulating competition within the taxi industry.
"Not only is it illegal to offer this service but additionally for the consumer there is a real danger," ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told iTELE, highlighting the inadequate insurance of drivers.
French taxi drivers have also questioned the legality of the popular mobile phone application, complaining that it has unfairly impacted their business. In June, many took part in a Europe-wide strike, which included sector workers in the UK, Belgium, Spain and Germany.
Series of challenges
The ban is just the latest in a string of challenges that Uber faces around the world.
A Dutch court on December 8 ruled that the UberPOP service violates current taxi laws, as had been charged by the country’s ministry of transportation.
On the same day, the city government in New Delhi banned Uber from operating in the Indian capital after a passenger accused one of its drivers of rape.
A day later, a judge in Spain also banned Uber's ride-sharing service, saying it violated laws on fair competition.
Thailand has also ruled Uber illegal, and the service has hit regulatory hurdles in locations from Germany to San Francisco, where a driver has been charged in an accident leading to the death of a six-year-old girl.
Last week, San Francisco and Los Angeles officials sued Uber for misleading consumers about fees and background checks.
"Uber continues to put consumers at risk by misleading the public about the background checks of its drivers and its unwillingness to ensure that correct fares are charged," Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said.
Authorities in Denmark and Norway have also filed complaints against Uber.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)