Paris taxi drivers’ Uber-the-top reaction to new app endangers tech founders

13 Jan 2014

As Hailo-rival Uber began user testing in Dublin at the weekend, taxi drivers in Paris have not welcomed the app to their city and have attacked a vehicle carrying tech entrepreneurs, Eventbrite’s Renaud Visage and Five by Five’s Kat Borlongan.

Uber, a smartphone app that connects users to a driver at the tap of a button, is different to Hailo in that it connects its users to vetted drivers of private cars available for hire rather than professional taxi drivers.

Hailo has already been a roaring success in Ireland and is now operating in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick.

It is understood that various tech insiders are now user testing rival Uber on Dublin’s streets.

Today it emerged that Uber’s experience of launching in Paris, however, has been less smooth. Striking taxi drivers attacked a car carrying Visage and Borlongan on a motorway in the French capital.

Twitter kat Borlongan

The assailants smashed one of the car’s windows and slashed two tyres, according to French blog Rude Baguette.

“Got attacked in an Uber by cab drivers on strike near Paris airport: smashed windows, flat tires, vandalised vehicle, and bleeding hands,” Borlongan tweeted.

Let’s hope that the reception of Uber – which is understood to cost 20pc less than standard fares – in Ireland is less eventful.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years