Following near-riots in the streets from angry taxi drivers, Uber has now announced it will suspend some of its operations in France.
The Wall Street Journal reports Uber has agreed to meet the demands of French authorities by putting its service in limbo.
Uber arguably had no choice, as two of its key executives now face criminal charges in France - Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, head of Western Europe, and Thibaud Simphal, head of France.
They have been ordered to appear on September 30 to face six charges in total including tax evasion, deceptive commercial practices and illicit storage of personal data.
For now, Uber’s ‘Uberpop’ service is the focus of most of the attention, while Uber’s other services in France continue to operate.
Uber’s future in France, and perhaps other parts of the world, now lies with the French legal system, as a court decision on the legality of the service is due to be handed down in September.
“Today is a black day for the 500,000 regular users of Uberpop in France, as well as for the drivers that regularly use the platform,” Uber said in a statement.
“It is now up to us to explain what we are doing and the advantages of the Uber platform.”
Even a positive outcome for Uber from the court case may be short-lived, with the office of French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, saying “Uberpop needed to be banned”. The service has also been banned in Spain and Germany.
The French taxi industry welcomed the move, saying it “salutes the work of public authorities”.
NSW Labor Backs Uber, Calls For ‘Shared Economy’ Regulation
New South Wales Opposition leader, Luke Foley, is perhaps one of the few politicians in Australia or around the world willing to back the Uber ride-sharing service.
While Australia is yet to see taxi drivers demonstrating in the streets, Uber has come to the attention of local authorities.
South Australia’s government declared the service ‘dangerous’, while the Australian Taxation Office warned all Uber operators would need an Australian Business Number (ABN) to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Rather than legislate to ban the service, Mr Foley called on NSW to embrace the ‘shared economy’ and announced plans to introduce a private member’s bill to parliament.
"The [NSW] Government's defying reality by pretending that the emerging ride-sharing industry is illegal or could be fined out of existence," Mr Foley said, speaking with the ABC.
“It won't be, it can't be. It's here to stay, let's regulate it in the public interest. The people have voted with their feet: a million ride-sharing trips in Sydney last year. That number will only grow."
The bill is likely to cause consternation in the NSW taxi industry, which has already lobbied the State Government to ban Uber. The industry’s union is also likely to put up a fight, and many of its members are Labor votors.
Reports suggest inspectors in SA, Queensland, Victoria and NSW have already issued fines to Uber operators in the last 12 months. Uber has reportedly paid these fines on behalf of its operators.
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