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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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UBER

French court reaches ‘landmark decision’ against Uber over drivers’ rights

A French court has reached a "landmark decision" against ride-hailing giant Uber after it backed a former driver who wanted his terms of employment recognised as a fully-fledged work contract.

French court reaches 'landmark decision' against Uber over drivers' rights
Photo: AFP

Ride-hailing giant Uber has lost an appeal in France brought by a former driver who wanted his terms of employment recognised as a fully-fledged work contract.

Fabien Masson, a lawyer for the plaintiff, hailed Thursday's ruling by the Paris Court of Appeal as a “landmark decision”.

It follows a similar court decision last month in Britain that Uber should grant workers' rights, including the national minimum wage and holiday time, to its drivers.

Uber has long maintained it is simply a service provider, connecting people needing a ride with drivers — either amateurs or professionals, depending on the country — in about 630 cities worldwide.

On that basis, Uber, which operates in over 60 countries and which intends to offer shares to the public later this year, has always maintained that its drivers are self-employed.

The Paris court ruling specifies that the contract between Uber and its former driver was “an employment contract” because the driver was dependent for his work on the ride-hailing app.

The former driver first sued Uber in June 2017, two months after the firm had desactivated his account “depriving him of the possibility to get new reservations”, according to the court.

The court also noted that the driver had signed a “registration partnership” with Uber which did not allow him to choose his own clients or set his own rates.

Uber in effect exercised “control” over the driver by actively discouraging him from turning would-be clients away.

The driver, who stopped working for Uber in 2016 after providing some 4,000 trips in under two years, had 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.

In an initial ruling last year, a French court found in favour of Uber, saying its drivers were free to refuse a trip and were not subject to any oversight by Uber in terms of time worked.

The European Court of Justice meanwhile has deemed the US group to be a transportation service, subject to the same regulations governing traditional taxis and other ride providers.

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