Protesting Uber drivers blockade access to Paris airports

Drivers for American taxi app Uber and other ride hailing services held protests at Paris's two airports on Friday, partially blockading road access and forcing police to issue traffic warnings.

Protesting Uber drivers blockade access to Paris airports
File photo: AFP
Drivers began gathering at the airports at around 5am planning to disrupt road access and create the kind of chaos seen during a similar protest last week that saw air passengers having to walk to airports.
Paris police reported that traffic was slow around both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports at about 7am. Riot police were out in force to maintain the peace.
Drivers, who are demanding Uber improve their wages, also plan a go slow to the American company's headquarters in the 19th arrondissement of Paris.
Other protests are planned in other areas of the city including Avenue Victor Hugo.
“We call on all minicab (Known as VTC in France) drivers to stop working on Friday morning and boycott Uber,” said Sayah Baaroun from the union Unsa-VTC.
The protests come following this week's failed negotiations between unions and bosses from ride-hailing app Uber.
The unions have been at loggerheads with Uber over the past week after a recent move by US ride-hailing giant to raise the commission it charged drivers for each ride from 20 percent to 25 percent.
Drivers' unions had demanded Uber either lower the commission or raise prices.
They also want the minimum cost of a journey raised from €5 to €8, as it was in the past, before Uber dropped the fee due to competition from other ride-hailing apps.
but those demands have not been met.
Uber's drivers, and the cabbies behind other similar app-based car services competing with traditional licensed taxi firms, say the US company is bypassing national labour protection standards while ignoring collective negotiation with its freelance drivers.
French Transport Minister Alain Videlies urged Uber last week to enter into discussions with all trade unions.
While the American company announced plans to pump €2 million into a support programme for hard-up drivers, unions said the move wasn't good enough. 
Friday's protest follows similar action last week that saw tailbacks at both airports and Porte Maillot on the city's western edge. 
Some airport-bound passengers were left with no choice but to finish their journey on foot. There were numerous reports of non-striking drivers being attacked by protesters and there are fears Friday's protests could also turn ugly.
Some protesting drivers said at the time that they were earning as little as €3.75 an hour.
Some held signs reading “Uber scam” and “Uber social scam” and “Uber = Modern slavery”

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Uber launches ‘Jump’ electric bikes and scooters in Paris

US ride-hailing group Uber said Wednesday that it would start deploying electric bikes and scooters for rent on Paris streets as soon as this week, joining a crowded market which city officials have vowed to rein in.

Uber launches 'Jump' electric bikes and scooters in Paris
Uber is set to launch its fleet of electric bikes and scooters in Paris as soon as this week. Photo: AFP
Initially 500 of its Jump bikes and 500 scooters will be rolled out, before Uber extends the programme to Paris suburbs and other French cities.
They will be so-called “dockless” rentals that can be picked up and left anywhere, a system that has proved a headache for residents who often find them blocking pavements or strewn across the city's picturesque squares.
An estimated 15,000 scooters operated by several companies have flooded the French capital since their introduction last year, a number projected to surge 
to 40,000 by the end of this year.
This month Paris said it would start imposing fines of 135 euros ($150) for riding scooters on pavements, and 35 euros for improper parking.


Like the other nine scooter operators in the city, Uber will also have to pay an annual licensing fee of 50 to 65 euros per scooter, depending on the size of its fleet.
And Uber said it had already signed the code of good conduct unveiled by Paris officials last week.
Rental prices for both the bikes and scooters will be the same: a one-euro unlocking fee and then 15 cents per minute.
The bikes will have a top speed of 25 km/h (15 mph), while the scooters can reach 20 km/h.
Uber bought Jump, a fellow San Francisco-based start-up, last year. Its bright-red bikes are already present in several US cities as well as in Lisbon and Berlin.
Uber had already announced Tuesday its plans to develop scooter offerings across Europe, beginning with Madrid.