Uber suspends French UberPOP service after protests turn violent

Uber has decided to suspend the operations of its ride-sharing service, UberPop, in France, after violent protests and arrests, the company announced on Friday.

The company said it had made the decision as a result of “intimidation, violent protests and organised aggression against UberPop drivers and users … due to a minority of out-of-control individuals”.

“Uber does not wish to run the slightest risk to UberPop drivers and passengers,” The Guardian quotes Uber announcing.

“We understand that new technology is disruptive: not just for established companies, but for the people who work in them and their families,” Uber said.

“This is especially true at a time of high unemployment. But we believe there is a way forward that provides new opportunities for all drivers including taxi drivers, as well as passengers who love the convenience of services like Uber, Heetch and Djump.

“Hundreds of taxi drivers have already switched over to Uber and are making a better living, with a work schedule to suit their family’s’ needs. It is heartbreaking to see the violence in the streets when we know that taxi drivers can earn more on the Uber platform. It’s why we need to do a better job explaining and communicating the advantages of Uber to all drivers.”

UberPop is a service which allows non-professional drivers to rent their cars, and it was met with discontent and protests in France. On the other hand, more than 10,000 people signed up for the service.

The company said it was suspending its service “in a gesture of peace”, and will wait until the decision of the conseil constitutionnel, the French supreme court, on 30 September, on whether the recently passed Thevenoud Law is constitutional.

The law imposes a certain number of restrictions and regulations on both taxis and the likes of Uber, but it does give taxis an advantage.