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TAXI

Uber wins French case despite EU court ruling

Ride-hailing giant Uber has won a case filed by a French driver claiming he should be considered an employee, with judges saying the company is simply an intermediary -- a ruling that clashes with a top EU court decision just weeks ago.

Uber wins French case despite EU court ruling
Photo: AFP
The decision by a Paris labour court, seen by AFP on Thursday, suggests that authorities and legal minds are divided over how to regulate companies and workers in the so-called “gig economy”.
   
The driver in the French case, who stopped working for Uber in 2016 after providing some 4,000 trips in under two years, later sued to have his “commercial accord” reclassified as an employment contract.
   
He was seeking reimbursement for holidays and expenses as well as indemnities for “undeclared work” and contract termination.
   
But in its ruling dated January 29, the court said drivers were free to refuse a trip and not subject to any oversight by Uber in terms of time worked.
 
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Taxify - A 'cheaper, more ethical' Uber rival launches in ParisPhoto: AFP   

Uber offered “intermediation and not transportation services”, which meant it was linked to drivers only via “commercial contracts” that could not be considered terms of employment.
   
In December, however, the European Court of Justice deemed the US group a transportation service, subject to the same regulations governing taxis and other ride providers.
   
In Britain, Uber is appealing against a labour court ruling that would give its drivers the right to paid holidays and the national minimum wage.
   
The lawyer for the French driver said he was likely to appeal, saying the judges had failed to appreciate “the entire system” that goes with being an Uber driver.
   
“To generate sufficient revenues and meet their expenses, given the rates that are imposed, a driver effectively has to be connected to the service quite often,” the lawyer, Aurelie Arnaud, said.
   
Uber welcomed the decision, saying “tens of thousands of drivers in France use the Uber app because it lets them decide, in real time, if, when and where they want to drive.”

TAXI

Paris drivers fined and banned after tourists charged €230 for airport taxi trip

Three Paris drivers have been fined and banned from driving after tourists were charged €230 for a taxi from Charles de Gaulle airport into the city, in a case brought by Paris taxi authorities to try and deter unlicensed drivers from performing this type of scam.

Paris drivers fined and banned after tourists charged €230 for airport taxi trip
Illustration photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP

Taxi fees from the airport into the city are capped at €53 for the Right Bank and €58 for the Left Bank, but tourists are frequently ripped off by unlicensed drivers who operate at airports and large train stations.

The latest case involved passengers who arrived from Hong Kong on January 1st and were charged €230 for the trip into the city centre.

This time the taxi drivers’ association L’association les Nouveaux Taxis Parisiens brought a civil action against the scammers, fed up with the overcharging which, they say, brings their profession into disrepute.

READ ALSO What you need to know about taking a taxi in Paris

Three men were brought before the court over the scam and produced a convoluted tale of extra charges for clearing up vomit from drunk passengers, which the Hong Kong tourists denied, while one man claimed he had only been at the airport to buy Nespresso capsules, to which the magistrate replied ‘Mmmmmm’, according to French newspaper Le Parisien

The driver was fined €200 for overcharging and banned from driving for a year, while his accomplice was banned from driving for six months. Both were ordered to pay €1,000 in damages. A third man, who was not present but whose legitimate taxi license the unlicensed driver was using, was given a €1,000 suspended fine and ordered to pay €1,000 in damages for complicity in the illegal practice of the profession.

Jean Barriera, leader of the taxi drivers’ association, said afterwards that he did not think the sentences were severe enough, adding that he had brought the case: “To defend the image of cabs. It’s the whole profession that these individuals sully.”

Paris, Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Toulouse and several other French cities have fixed rates for taxis, you can find the full list here

However these only apply to official taxis. If you are using a VTC service like Uber the price will vary depending on availability, although it will be fixed before you get into the car.

Unlicensed drivers are common at airports and stations including Gare du Nord. French taxi drivers are not allowed to solicit for fares, so if someone approaches you and offers you a taxi they are probably unlicensed – instead go to the taxi rank to find an official vehicle.

Click here for the full list of rates and what you need to know about taking a taxi in France.

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