Uber Protests Turn Violent


Uber, the mobile-based ride application, which functions very similar to a private taxi service, has been under hard scrutiny since its wake in 2009. Founded in California, Uber allows smartphone users to request for rides from private vehicle-owning drivers connected with Uber for fares which cost lower than that of conventional taxi rides. By May 2015, over 300 cities worldwide have implemented Uber into their transport services.

However, the rise of Uber has not been as peaceful as would seem. In Paris, France, 2,800 taxi drivers took part in a strike against Uber with about 30 blockades citywide. Taxi drivers have been furious with Uber, which allows passengers cheaper fares than that of taxis.

Taxis operator businesses have reported to be endangered by the influx of Uber low-cost drivers into the market. The law has assisted the drivers by banning Uber in January 2015. However, it has still been difficult to enforce the law against Uber drivers.

The strike also was difficult to control as it had went out of hand to the point of being violent. People have reported to be dragged out of their vehicles by the mob. There were also accounts of people having had their vehicles damaged or even destroying by striking taxi drivers. This violence prompted police to eventually break up the mob with tear gas and by clearing out the burning tires.

This violent protest was a result of unheard peaceful protests in the past in cities like Toulouse and Marseille.

Taxi driver Stephane Molla is outraged by the fact that Uber, though outlawed, is still present and prevalent. Another driver, Fabrice Moreau believes Uber has always been unfair since it didn’t require drivers to go through the rigorous process that taxi drivers go through such as license registration and bans on flat-rate plans. They didn’t have to pay taxes, undergo 250 hours of mandatory training, and did not need to carry insurance.

In line of the events, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called for calm and said he had told prosecutors to bring a prohibition order Uber.

However, violence among drivers is still present. Reports say that there have been incidents where taxi drivers themselves would pose as Uber customers and would drag Uber drivers out of their vehicles for mauling.

Drivers caught violating the Uber ban may face at least a year in prison and at least about a $17,000 fine.

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