Uber puts hold on French operations in wake of protests, violence
US ride-sharing app suspended amid fears for Uber driver safety
US ride-hailing company Uber has suspended its UberPOP service in France following recent protests from licensed taxi-drivers that occasionally turned violent.
According to a report from Reuters, UberPOP, which connects passengers with unlicensed private-car owners willing to provide transport, was shut down after some Uber drivers, including one transporting American singer Courtney Love, became the targets of protester violence.
Last week two Uber executives were arrested in France and face trial in September in connection with UberPOP's French operations, which are considered illegal by some officials.
"We have decided to suspend UberPOP in France from 1800 GMT this Friday evening, primarily to assure the safety of Uber drivers," Uber France head Thibaud Simphal told Le Monde.
"The second reason is that we want to create a spirit of reconciliation and dialogue with public authorities to show we are acting responsibly."
French taxi drivers see Uber's service as unfair competition, because its drivers are not subject to the taxes and other expenses faced by licensed cab drivers and can easily undercut them. But the cabbies have come under some criticism from locals and foreigners for poor quality of service - sentiments echoed by the country's prime minister, Manuel Valls, even as he welcomed Uber's decision to put its service on hold.
"Taxis need to reform too, to contribute to our country's attractiveness," he said.