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The Uber-D.C. taxicab battles have nothing on what’s happening in Paris right now.
Cab drivers in the French capital are on strike, protesting what the say is the unfair competition that car services like Uber bring to the market. During a protest earlier today near Charles-de-Gaulle Airport, some cab drivers smashed the windows, damaged the hood, and slashed a tire of an Uber car that had passengers in it, according to TechCrunch. No one was injured.
Uber wrote about the attack on its blog:
That taxis chose to use violence today is unacceptable, that they chose to strike is their business. However, Parisians also have a choice when it comes to moving around in their city, and today’s incident certainly discourages Parisians from choosing a taxi for their next ride. Safety, reliability and choice, not violence, are what continue to draw customers towards private hire vehicles (VTCs).
Paris cab drivers’ complaints about Uber aren’t much different from the cab-Uber disputes in D.C, where the the cab industry has to comply with far more stringent government regulations than Uber. For instance, D.C. cab drivers have been fighting modernization requirements that required them to install credit card readers and buy pricey dome lights that they say have been emptying their pockets. Uber drivers do not have meters, and aren’t subject to these regulations.
In France, cab drivers have to pay an expensive fee to obtain a license and argue there should be some laws in place to protect them from competition like Uber. The French government recently passed a law that required private driving services to wait a minimum of 15 minutes between the time a customer requests the car and the customer is picked up.