FRENCH taxi drivers have built roadblocks round airports in a protest at controversial unofficial taxi company Uber. Riot police stepped in as drivers across the country blocked airport access and vandalised Uber cars, flipping some over.
Uber cars were surrounded by protestors, often with passengers trapped inside. Amongst those caught up in the chaos was singer and actor Courtney Love, who tweeted: “They’ve ambushed our car and are holding our driver hostage. They’re beating the cars with metal bats. This is France?? I’m safer in Baghdad.”
At Orly Airport in the outskirts of Paris, an Uber driver was arrested, accused of running over a protestor attempting to block his way.
The international taxi app Uber, which connects people who need a lift with drivers who charge on average between 30 and 50 per cent less than official cabs, has caused waves of protests from registered taxi drivers in several countries. Black cab drivers in London brought the city to a standstill in May in a demonstration around Transport for London’s headquarters.
There are accusations of unfair competition levelled against the company, which is predicted to make around €10 billion internationally in 2015, and lack of safety as the drivers are not subject to the same regulatory checks as official cab drivers.
The service has already been deemed illegal in French courts, however the app has not yet been banned and is thus still in use.