French taxi-drivers have had a kicking from the free market as travellers reject the unionised, expensive traditional cabs and instead joined the Uber service in record numbers.
French taxi drivers rioted against the insurgent Uber taxi app last week, inadvertently pushing their customers towards the very service they were trying to ban. Ignoring the fact that anti-Uber strikes have had the same effect in cities worldwide, as potential customers find traditional taxis out of order and download the app for ordering a car for the first time, the drivers went ahead. Consequently, Uber has now had a record number of downloads in France, reports tech bloggers at Fortune magazine.
On Thursday last week Uber was the second most downloaded mobile phone app in France, rising to become the most popular on Friday. No doubt for the executives of Uber, these protests against their business cannot come often enough – despite two of their executives being brought to trial after French authorities bowed to pressure from taxi unions.
Paris saw remarkable scenes last week after police officers battled with belligerent cabbies, who set upon the cars used by rival services. Attacking them with baseball bats, setting them on fire, and overturning cars, in the end 70 vehicles were damaged – yet police only made 10 arrests.
The ‘Uber effect’ was also observed in the United Kingdom last year, as drivers of the traditional black-cabs protested against being left behind by the march of new technology and consumer taste. Uber’s general manager Jo Bertram hit back at the strikes at the time, accusing the London Taxi Drivers Association of being “stuck in the dark ages”.
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