Uber’s French soirée turning sour amid €1.2m fine

27 Jan 2016

Uber has been ordered to pay €1.2m to France’s National Taxi Union, according to AFP, following complaints that the former’s drivers were acting like standard taxis.

A dispute between French taxi drivers and Uber has been ongoing for quite a while now, with the embittered cabbies staging multiple protests in Paris recently.

Yesterday, taxi drivers protested by burning tyres on roads around Paris, blocking traffic until authorities could clean up the mess.

One of their complaints is about the different criteria needed to become either a taxi driver or an Uber driver, with the former profession requiring a fairly costly licence.

As Uber’s far cheaper entry into the private hire market encroached on taxi drivers’ livelihood, it’s only natural that some complaints emerged.

Other claims are that Uber’s ride-sharing drivers were actually going above and beyond what they’re supposed to do, waiting around streets to pick up impulsive custom – the domain of taxi drivers.

Now, according to AFP, the US company must pay the National Taxi Union in France a fine of €1.2m, specifically relating to that complaint.

The French government is acting on this right now, planning on implementing new laws to appease its taxi drivers.

In the meantime, Uber is paying a fine and, presumably, working out ways to continue its own business in the city.

As TechCrunch notes, this isn’t the first time the government has tried to pass a new law to please cabbies. Two years ago, Thomas Thévenoud  tried to regulate this industry with no luck.

Last summer, Uber was rated as the most valuable start-up in the world, despite not being profitable, and its growth has continued.

A couple of weeks ago, for example, it opened a centre of excellence in Limerick, with 100 (of 300) jobs already filled on the back of a €4m investment.

Uber image via Prathan Chorruangsak / Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic