Uber has suspended its controversial, low-cost ride-sharing service UberPop service in France.
Uber’s French director Thibaud Simphal, one of those arrested, confirmed in an interview with Le Monde that the budget version of the Uber service would be suspended tonight in France for safety reasons.
Mr Simphal and another European manager for San Francisco-based Uber were detained this week and ordered to stand trial to face charges including “deceptive commercial practices” and complicity in illegal activities.
The Guardian reports:
The company said it had made the decision as a result of “intimidation, violent protests and organised aggression against UberPop drivers and users … due to a minority of out-of-control individuals”.
“Uber does not wish to run the slightest risk to UberPop drivers and passengers,” it added.
The UberPop service allows non-professional drivers to offer their car for hire, and the company says that 10,000 drivers have signed up for the service. But concerns over its legality in France resulted in the arrest of two executives on Monday.
Uber has faced particular difficulty in France following the passing of the so-called Thevenoud Law, which targeted car sharing services such as UberPop.
The company said it was suspending its service “in a gesture of peace”, and will wait until the decision of the conseil constitutionnel, the French supreme court, on 30 September, on whether the law is constitutional.
Until then, Uber said that UberPop drivers can apply for a taxi licence and drive for the company’s licensed UberX service – which is also offered in the UK – but that the licensing process was “too much of an obstacle course”.
“We understand that new technology is disruptive: not just for established companies, but for the people who work in them and their families,” Uber said.
“This is especially true at a time of high unemployment. But we believe there is a way forward that provides new opportunities for all drivers including taxi drivers, as well as passengers who love the convenience of services like Uber, Heetch and Djump.