The Strategist

As per Emmanuel Macron, French Taxi laws need rethinking

07/30/2015 - 07:51

Uber’s ride sharing service had caused widespread violent protests in France. France’s traditional taxi drivers have a reason why they are being so protective but, Macron thinks that the two can co-exist.

France Economy Minister, Emmanuel Macron, has announced that with the arrival of Uber on the ride sharing scene, there is an urgent need to update the legislation for taxi services. He has convened talks in order to address this controversial issue.
Uber’s cab sharing services have had a rough ride in France. A law passed last October has already restricted the use of the localisation service that it uses, and, is essential to its business model. Naturally, Uber has challenged it in court, since its very survival in France depends on it, however it faces similar opposition from countries all across the globe.
The introduction of its cab sharing services had earlier resulted in violent protests from traditional cab drivers in France. Uber has since suspended its UberPOP riding sharing service in France.
While speaking at a function, attended by the visiting British Finance Minister, George Osborne, dedicated to startups, Emmanuel Macron said that talks will take place sometime late in August and it will involve all the key players in this dispute so as to "rethink the economic model" of the industry and hopefully resolve the dispute.
"We will find a new set of regulations that will take into account the new dynamics of the sector," said Macron.
Uber’s localisation service which UberPOP makes use of, allows smartphone users to find online potential rides from private drivers. Although this benefits users, but it undercuts traditional taxi services.
Paris’ traditional cab drivers say that the service amounts to unfair and illegal competition since these private drivers have not had to pay license fees or taxes.
Uber has however countered this argument with saying that the service that it provides is a legitimate component of a burgeoning 'sharing economy' and thus it should be allowed to compete with traditional cabs, whose numbers are artificially kept low in order to price consumers out of the market.
Last week, a Spanish judge has requested Europe’s top court for a ruling on what could set a legal precedent across continents. Europe’s top court will decide on the nature of service provided by Uber.
France had witnessed earlier, violent protests from taxi drivers against Uber’s ride sharing service. This is because taxi drivers have to shell out hundreds of thousands of euros for a permit which is not easily provided. Presumably that is the primary reason behind their protective and violet protests.
Macron has revealed that the talks would aim to reconcile the need of traditional cab drivers and UberPOP’s service. They can co-exists, and there is no reason why Uber’s app should kill the traditional taxi industry.
"You created a new service, which has created a new demand," said Macron to the CEO of Hitch, a France-based ride-sharing app service.