French court rejects bid to forbid UberPop

  • TECH
  • Monday, 15 Dec 2014

FRENCH KISS FOR UBER: Uber has been allowed to keep operating its service in France.

PARIS: Uber will continue to operate its UberPop transport service in France for now after a Paris commercial court rejected a request by competitors to ban the service. 

Three car companies and several taxi associations had sued the French subsidiary of the San Francisco-based company over what it deemed unfair competition, saying among other things that Uber drivers circumvented the training required of taxi drivers and other limousine service chauffeurs.

The court found that the emergency request brought by the plaintiffs was unjustified. Regardless, a new request to forbid the car service should be examined in a criminal court and not a commercial one, it said. 

"Today's decision is very positive," Uber France's general director Thibaud Simphal said. "UberPop can continue."

The court asked Uber to respect the law by requiring its drivers to return to garages after each ride and by banning them from scouting for clients while driving. 

In October, a Paris court fined the subsidiary 100,000 euros (RM436,000) for fraudulent business practices, finding it advertised UberPop as a car pool when it was in fact a paid transportation service that connects private drivers to passengers.

Uber has continued to operate UberPop as it has awaited that appeals ruling. 

Highly regulated taxi drivers have protested that Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services from their smartphones, has hit their business unfairly as it has expanded rapidly over the four years since its launch.

The venture-capital backed firm valued at US$18bil (RM63bil) now operates in 43 countries and 25 European cities and has sparked legal cases and taxi protests in many cities where it operates.

Courts in Germany have banned UberPop and the company's low-cost limousine pick-up service UberBlack, saying their drivers do not comply with German law for the commercial transport of passengers.

In June, taxi drivers in Paris blocked traffic into the city centre in a protest against the company, an action duplicated in London, Berlin and Madrid. — Reuters
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