Uber rolled out in even more cities in France this week – among those cities, Marseille, where gang violence is common due to drug trafficking. Within 24 hours of Uber’s launch, a video has surfaced on Facebook showing an UberPop driver being stopped by a group of men – we learn later in the video that the passenger in the car was a taxi-driver, the pickup a setup, and the plan was to make an example of him.
The first few minutes go as you’d expect – the driver tries to continue driving but the men ultimately position themselves around the car, and begin speaking with him. As the video continues, more drivers – male & female – turn up, some of whom begin opening doors to climb in and taking the air out of the tires. Their plans switch quickly as they board the vehicle and drive ahead a few hundred meters, where Taxi’s have blocked all roadways and what appears to be just under 100 drivers are waiting.
The video is filmed by taxi-drivers, “So that you can’t claim that we did anything wrong,” says the video’s recorder repeatedly – and yet, the video shows a man taken hostage against his will, shows his car being searched through by others, and even shows him getting egged by one taxi-driver.
The complaints of the drivers range from “we’ve paid 100K€ to be taxi drivers” to more threatening “we’ve got your photo. If we ever see you driving again…” Interestingly enough, in the last minute of the video, you see the driver explaining how the system works: “no, it’s easy: you download the application and then you’re set.” The video ends with the arrival of a police officer, although it’s unclear whether he’s there to fine the driver or to help him.
The move seems to be on par with Uber’s previous rollouts; however, in cities where mafias and gangs have much more power and support from authority, fear may play a large factor. What if being an Uber driver means risking your life?