French president rails against Uber amid taxi tensions

Associated Press

Paris — France’s president wants Uber’s cheapest car service shut down and its vehicles seized, but Uber refuses to stop the service until a ruling by the country’s top court.

The standoff, and a violence-marred taxi strike that upended Paris travel, reflects larger tensions in France over how to regulate fast-moving technology and stay globally competitive while ensuring labor protections.

Uber’s cheapest service, called UberPop in France, was banned here, but Uber officials insist they will continue their activities until France’s highest court rules on the service.

French President Francois Hollande said Friday, “The UberPop group must be dissolved and declared illegal, and the vehicles must be seized.” But he said that the executive branch can’t do that without further action through the courts.

Uber argues that the French taxi system is outdated and needs reform to keep up with apps and geolocalization, and that traditional taxis are just trying to quash competition.

Furious taxi drivers in France say the low-cost UberPop service is ruining their livelihood. Uber drivers have been repeatedly ambushed, sometimes with customers inside.