For two Uber customers in Paris, their ride was not at all what they expected.
Major taxi unions in the French capital staged protests Monday against startup Uber and other independent car services for "unfair competition." The local taxi drivers feel that their jobs are threatened by new services such as Uber, French newspaper Le Monde reports.
But the protests turned violent when taxi drivers apparently attacked the Uber van that was transporting Kat Borlongan, co-founder of consulting firm Five by Five, and Eventbrite CTO Renaud Visage.
Attackers tried to get in the car but our brave @uber driver maneuvered us to safety, changed the tire on the freeway and got us home.-- Kat Borlongan (@KatBorlongan) January 13, 2014
"They also tried to open the doors, but fortunately our driver had locked them," Visage told The Verge. While their van didn't have any visible Uber branding on it, the protesters were attacking vehicles from all types of independent operators.
Uber confirmed the incident in a statement on its website. "That taxis chose to use violence today is unacceptable, that they chose to strike is their business," the company said. "However, Parisians also have a choice when it comes to moving around in their city, and today's incident certainly discourages Parisians from choosing a taxi for their next ride."
The attack comes just days after a separate incident involving union workers at a soon-to-be shuttered Goodyear plant in the French town of Amiens, who held two executives hostage as they sought to negotiate bonus and severance packages.
Uber has faced legal and political pushback as the company expands, aiming to disrupt traditional transportation services. Uber is in numerous cities across 26 countries globally. It has been available in Paris since 2011.