Uber announces suspension of UberPOP in France
Licenced French taxi drivers claim new servic threatens their livelihood
A banner which translates as, ‘Uber get out’ is displayed across a taxi windscreen during a protest in the southern city of Marseille as taxi drivers demonstrate against UberPOP. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulatanne/Getty
Uber Technologies will suspend its UberPOP ride-hailing service in France, the US company said on Friday, after it faced often-violent protests and the authorities denounced it as an illegal taxi service.
France last week ordered a nationwide clampdown on the service and two executives from California-based Uber will face trial in France on September 30th.
Licenced French taxi drivers argue it threatens their livelihood with unfair competition. “We have decided to suspend UberPOP in France from 2000 (1800 GMT) this Friday evening, primarily to assure the safety of Uber drivers,” the newspaper Le Monde quoted Uber France head Thibaud Simphal as saying, adding some drivers had been targets of violence.
“The second reason is that we want to create a spirit of reconciliation and dialogue with public authorities to show we are acting responsibly,” he said. In a June 25 protest in numerous French cities, cabbies blocked roads to the capital’s airports, overturned cars and burned tyres to press for the scheme to be abolished.
Police said 70 cars were damaged and seven police officials injured in the protests. Ten people were arrested. The protests were among the fiercest in a series of strikes and other demonstrations across Europe against San Francisco-based Uber, whose backers include investment bank Goldman Sachs and technology giant Google. It is valued in excess of $40 billion.