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RAMADAN

How Ramadan has made it harder to find Uber drivers in Paris at night

Taxi ride app Uber has noticed a big drop in the number of drivers available in Paris at evenings and customers have seen the cost of their ride home jump. There’s a simple explanation.

How Ramadan has made it harder to find Uber drivers in Paris at night
Photo:AFP

You don’t normally have to wait too long in Paris for your Uber driver to turn up, even in the evening.

But since last Saturday that’s changed slightly.

Users of the taxi ride app have noticed how drivers are much harder to come by and even bosses of the company have seen the change.

“Yes we have observed this trend,” Uber told Le Parisien newspaper.

“This is also the same case during certain cultural and sporting events, when drivers will disconnect from the app,” said Uber.

This time it’s all to do with the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The reason why many drivers make themselves unavailable in the evening is all to do with the fasting that observers are required to do.

Those Muslims strictly observing Ramadan must avoid intake of any food or water from dawn until sunset, which in Paris right now is between 9.30pm and 10pm.

When fasting ends Muslims will normally immediately take time to eat and drink.

While many Muslim Uber drivers will replenish their energy quickly and get back on the road, others will take time to have a meal with their families, hence the reason why it might be harder to find an Uber cab after 9.30pm.

“It’s logical that Ramadan could have an impact,” said Uber France’s Grégoire Kopp previously. “That’s due to the fact the majority of drivers using Uber's app are from suburbs, meaning potentially North African and of Muslim faith.”

Uber has successfully recruited thousands of drivers throughout immigrant suburbs around Paris and other French cities, due in part to the fact the app offers rare prospect of work for those living in areas of high-unemployment and where many locals with North African origins complain of discrimination when applying for regular jobs.

Union leader Sayah Baaroun had a message for any Parisians who might feel like complaining about the price hike of their ride home from the brasserie or the extra wait they might have to endure.

“Are these people who are complaining because they have to wait five minutes even thinking about the health of the drivers?” Baaroun told Le Parisien.

“Uber targets the [Muslim] community in its recruitment and they are treated as cannon fodder so they have the right to enjoy this moment.”

UBER

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.
 
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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.
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