Following Uber’s taxi drivers going on a riot in France and the arrest of two of the company’s top executives, the San Francisco based taxi service has decided to halt its UberPOP service in France until further notice. The French President now claims UberPOP as illegal which according to him should be shut down.
UberPOP is essentially a ride sharing service, hence anyone can offer rides in their own cars at cheaper rates. This has eventually enraged taxi drivers in the country who think as if they have been betrayed and feel being undercut. Last week, an angry mob of French taxi drivers took to the streets to protest against Uber, setting up roadblocks, burned car tyres and also overturned a few cars.
“In the light of last week’s violence, we have today decided to suspend uberPOP,” Uber said in a statement.
Uber’s French Director Thibaud Simphal was also arrested this week, who officially confirmed that the company has suspended its UberPOP service in France.
“It’s a tremendously sad day for our 500,000 French UberPOP passengers, as well as the drivers who used the platform. However, safety must come first,” said the company.
The company will have to wait till September until a constitutional court ruling, which could eventually decide the fate of the service in France. The Court will decide whether Thevenoud Law should be implemented, which bans the use of software services to find passengers, eventually making UberPOP illegal in the country.
Meanwhile, Simphal added that the suspension of the service is to preserve the safety of its drivers. The company said it aims to get those drivers affected by riots get back on the road soon as possible. He also added that riots didn’t really affect its drivers, with 4000 active UberPOP users last week despite the riots.
“UberPOP has been an important source of income for the 10,000 drivers using the platform…So our priority now is to get these 10,000 partners back on the road as quickly as possible, potentially as licensed uberX drivers,” the company said.
Uber said that the UberPOP app will no longer be available as a app in France, though its regular Uber X service will continue to exist and function as normal. Apart from France, UberPOP is also available in Amsterdam and Brussels, though surprisingly it’s still not in use in the UK neither the US.
UberPOP has also raised concerns in other parts of Europe as well leading to widespread controversy. The service was temporarily banned in Germany and was also boycotted in Italy.