Uber

Chaos Unfolds in France as Uber and Taxi Drivers Riot

Chaos Unfolds in France as Uber and Taxi Drivers Riot
Image credit: Charles Platiau | Reuters

Tensions between French taxi drivers and Uber drivers have been heating up for months, but today, that anger became vitriolic. Riots broke out throughout France, with Uber drivers and taxi drivers taking aim -- literally -- at each other’s cars.

The highly regulated taxi industry in France says it is unable to compete with UberPOP, the peer-to-peer arm of the transportation technology company where any driver can become a freelance Uber driver. UberPOP is the equivalent of UberX in the U.S. and is the most inexpensive of the Uber offerings.

French politicians have ruled that UberPOP would be illegal in France starting January 1, but Uber says that the decisions handed down are not from bodies with the power to make such declarations and are therefore not authoritative.

Related: 5 Entrepreneurial Lessons From Uber on Its 5-Year Anniversary

“Under the rule of law, only the justice can say what is legal and what is illegal; so far, no French court of justice has ruled UberPOP illegal and banned the service in the country. Some parts of the administration are bending under taxi pressure and declaring POP illegal, but this is inaccurate and biased,” says Uber spokesperson Thomas Meister, in an email with Entrepreneur.

There have been reports that Uber is paying all the fines that UberPOP drivers receive from local officers. To this, Meister says only, “We always stand by Uber partners, no matter what happens to them.”

The protests between the UberPOP drivers and French taxi drivers flamed up just as celebrities from all over the world descend on France for the Cannes Film Festival. Courtney Love detailed her experience of her Uber car being attacked by taxi drivers and her having to pay off some men on motorcycles to get her out of the situation.

Related: From Rides to Eats, Uber Launches New Food-Delivery Service

Have a look at some of the scenes from streets in France below.

Battling regulations and legacy technology has become part of the Uber business model. But the San Francisco-based technology giant also says that the chaos happening on the streets throughout France today is going too far.

“Uber firmly condemns the recent acts of violence against Uber partners and their cars, perpetrated today in Paris and in other French cities; whatever the anger, violence is never acceptable,” says Meister.

Related: Taxi App War: Uber's Competitor in China Raises $1.5 Billion

Edition: December 2016

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