Government-backed law to require 15-minute delay on smartphone ride services irks Parisians

Aug 6, 2013
Vote on Hacker News

taxi

In the past week, the French Government has come out in favor of a law that would require VTC (véhicule de tourisme avec chauffeur, namely, non Taxi chauffeurs) to have a minimum 15-minute delay between time of reservation and time of pick up. The announcement provoked a response from SnapCar co-founder Dave Ashton this week, “an open letter to taxi authorities” in which he accused taxi authorities of overdramatizing the impact of VTCs on Taxis. According to Ashton, the ration of all VTCs – Uber, SnapCar, Chauffeur Privé, or otherwise – to Taxis is about 1 to 15, pointing out the weakness in the “unfair competition” that Taxi groups like G7 have suggested of VTCs.

French startup Heycrowd is conducting a survey of its users’ reactions to the recently proposed law, as well as their opinions of smartphone-based ride services in comparison to taxis. Certainly worth a look:

The survey points out some of the more accurate discontent that users have with taxi drivers, namely the ongoing problem of taxi drivers’ unwillingness to accept debit cards, due to the charges they face on top of them. Just 1/5th of survey respondents have used a “smartphone controlled chauffeur,” while 73% say their presence in the market is good for users.

The law’s proposal and subsequent backing has got many people questioning the role of the government in such a matter, as well as the overwhelming influence that labor unions (in French, syndicats) have over the judicial system. While the economic crisis has weakened labor unions (if only because there are less people employed, and, thus, less people for them to represent), the fact remains that, if corporations are the puppetmasters of the US government, then it’s the labor unions here in France who pull the strings.

You too can give your thoughts on the Taxi war in Paris by taking the survery here