French government vows to enforce ‘anti-UberPOP’ law to quell latest taxi uprising

Dec 16, 2014
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Photo illustration of logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone over a reserved lane for taxis in a street in Madrid

Another day, another French taxi strike.  This time, the taxis were protesting against a ruling this past Friday that UberPOP could continue to operate in Paris. The only drawback to the ruling for Uber was that the court, in response to a deceptive advertising infraction in October,  banned them from advertising certain services which would result in a hefty fine if violated. In response to the ruling and to protest the fact that a new law against non-professional taxi / car-hire drivers referred to as the Thévenoud Law had not yet been fully clarified and ‘decreed’ by the government, taxi companies predictably went on strike yesterday morning, driving at snails place from CDG and Orly airports into the capital. This time though, unlike in the past, the strike seemed tame in comparison. In addition, the unions who are usually key organizers of strikes, decided to remain out of the fray stating that they “didn’t want to trouble people in the run-up to Christmas.”

In response to the latest strike action, the interior ministry quickly came out to declare that regardless of the ruling, the new law would be enforced once it comes into effect in the new year. The government stressed the fact that UberPOP drivers were unlicensed and not properly insured was the real sticking point for Uber’s low-cost service. Uber has tried to diffuse this argument however, stating that all UberPOP trips are covered by $5 million liability insurance, covering any damage or injury caused by the driver.

Although the last several weeks have been, to say the least, challenging for Uber, investor interest in Uber has shown no signs of abating given their latest $1.2 billion round and a reported $600 million investment from search engine Baidu to help fuel their growth in China. In addition to supporting their growth, being well-funded is likely to come in quite handy as they continue to fight back against the myriad of mounting legal challenges they face around the world.