• France's news in English

'Banned' Uberpop rolls out in more French cities

Ben McPartland · 8 Jun 2015, 09:09

Published: 08 Jun 2015 09:09 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Taxi drivers across France will be spitting out their croissants on Monday after it was revealed that Uber has opened its Uberpop service in three new French cities – Marseille, Strasbourg and Nantes.

The service – which basically allows any ordinary car owner to become a taxi driver – is technically illegal in France, but until a court hands out its ruling the service has been allowed to continue running.

Uberpop puts non-professional drivers with their own cars in touch with passengers via their mobile phones or a website for rides at budget rates.

It is the scourge of taxi drivers across Europe who accuse it unfair competition.

But on Monday Uber raised the stakes and showed it was willing to take the fight to French taxi drivers and authorities alike.

After opening up in Paris, Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Nice – picking up one million users along the way – the company has now added the three French news cities “in a strategic move”, the company said.

The American firm hope to put pressure on authorities to change the regulations around the taxi services and profit from the legal uncertainties. The firm managed to keep the roll-out of the service in the three cities a secret until Monday.

UberPop is technically illegal in France, thanks to a new raft of laws brought in last year.

However the company is appealing a €100,000 ($113,000) fine it received last year.

The court of appeal has put back its decision until September meaning parent company Uber are still permitted to run the app. The court of appeal may decide transfer the decision to France's Constitutional Council.

Under the Thévenoud law introduced on January 1st French police are allowed to hand out fines if they catch the Uberpop drivers - hundreds of whom have been penalised.

In April this year taxi driver unions threatened all-out war if the government did not enforce the ban on Uberpop.

 “Today the government has the means to prohibit the secretive and illegal work, which is done by those drivers. There are laws for this and they are not being applied," Pascal Wilder, Secretary General of the National Federation for Independent Taxis was quoted as saying by Europe 1 radio.

On Monday news of the opening of UberPop in three cities prompted immediate protests from taxi drivers.

Story continues below…

The picture below shows cabbies waiting outside the Mama Shelter in Marseille, where a meeting of UberPop was due to take place.



Taxi drivers also blocked roads in the centre of Nantes.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick

The substances in the nappies are meant to prevent skin irritation but are cancerous, the study concludes.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available