France’s new anti-Uber law gives Taxis an unfair advantage

Sep 19, 2014
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Yesterday evening, the France’s National Assembly voted definitively in favor of the pro-taxi  “Thévenoud law,” which imposed a certain number of restrictions and regulations on both Taxis and VTC (licensed professional drivers of services like Uber, Chauffeur-Privé, SnapCar). Those regulations include a comical list, among them:

  1. VTC Drivers must return to their dispatch after each ride (Taxis don’t have to)
  2. VTC services may not use geolocalization services (Taxis may)

The law also includes restrictions on pricing, the type of car which may be used, as well as new regulation around applications for VTC licenses.

In response to the recent announcement, Thibaud Simphal, who manages Uber’s Paris operations, said in a statement:

“France has made the choice of an unfair law, adopted in haste, one which slows the development of the sector…”

The law was originally brought forth by Thomas Thévenoud, the foreign trade minister who has since stepped down from office after it was discovered he hadn’t paid taxes or rent in the last three years (Thévenoud claimed to have “administrative phobia,” a comment which went viral in recent weeks).

The new law is a significant step back for Uber, who has been struggling across Europe to work with governments & taxi unions. After a short stint ban in Germany earlier this month, Uber drivers (& passengers) were stopped in Barcelona all last weekend, prompting many users to accuse Uber of operating a service they openly knew was illegal in the eyes of the government.

Nothing short of overturning this law will be necessary for Uber to maintain its positioning as a disrupting force. Alternatively, it’s been given a mandate to change its mobile application, its pricing, and how it manages drivers – somehow, that doesn’t seem like an order that Travis Kalanick has plans to follow.