French taxi drivers disrupted traffic in Paris Tuesday morning, protesting against what they claim is unfair competition from private car-hailing companies like Uber. After 22 arrests were made, France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the violence of the protest, but agreed to discuss regulatory changes to ensure a level playing field for all transportation services.
This round of protests, which included tire fires and road blockades, follows a series of particularly heated protests in Paris against UberPop. Those events inspired local authorities to ban Uber's low cost service, which some decried as an illegal threat to the taxi industry. Uber drivers were subsequently required to undergo 250 hours of training and complete a test in order to secure a license to operate.
Despite those regulatory changes, several taxi associations continue to protest ride-hailing services, blaming them for a revenue decline they claim is between 20 to 40%. Some are even calling for a total abolishment of services like Uber. Over the next few days, Valls is expected to appoint someone to draft a new set of rules that would somehow level the playing field that taxi drivers say is tilted against their favor.
Uber has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Johana Bhuiyan is a tech reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Bhuiyan reports on the sharing economy with a focus on ridesharing companies.
Contact Johana Bhuiyan at email@example.com.
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