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Uber ordered to pay taxi drivers damages in France

A French court on Friday ordered ride-hailing service Uber to pay damages to taxi drivers whose business suffered from unlicensed competitors.

Uber ordered to pay taxi drivers damages in France
Photo: Thomas SAMSON / AFP.

Uber France will have to pay €180,000 to 910 taxi drivers and their federation who brought a civil case against Uber for unfair competition, the court ruled.

The case centred on the activities in 2014 and 2015 of UberPop, a platform that brought together clients and unlicensed drivers.

The business, marketed as ride-sharing, sparked the ire of traditional taxi drivers who felt the new service was threatening their livelihoods with cheap fares.

They notably argued that non-professional drivers did not have to pay for training, or acquire a taxi licence which in Paris can cost more than €100,000, allowing them to undercut taxis.

Uber France had already in December 2015 lost its appeal against a guilty verdict by a criminal court for misleading commercial practices, and was ordered to pay a fine of 150,000 euros.

In its civil case decision Friday, the court found that passing off untrained drivers as professionals hurt the image and the reputation of
licensed taxi drivers.

The damages payout works out at €192 for each of the 910 drivers, and €5,000 for the Paris taxi drivers’ federation.

Uber on Friday said that it has not been using unlicensed drivers in France since 2015, and that drivers now had to take the same tests as licensed taxi drivers.

“This is a good decision which will stop other platforms from providing illegal transport,” taxi federation president Christophe Jacopin said of the verdict.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

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