Uber has been fined EUR800,000 by a French court for running an illegal taxi service while two of its executives also received smaller fines. Uber was declared illegal in France last year after the government caved to pressure from licensed taxi drivers.
The case was centered on Uber POP, which is the company’s actual ride-sharing service – similar to Uber X in Malaysia. The service has been suspended since the court ruling that of its illegality, although this recent fine was handed down based on the courts finding that the service had caused a “durable disruption” of the transport sector. The disruption in question was due to a taxi driver protest in Paris that turned violent and required police intervention.
Uber is not happy with the outcome of the trial. A spokesman said “we stopped Uber POP last summer and we are still disappointed by this judgment. It has no impact on Uber’s activity in France today. The app connects 12,000 professional drivers with 1.5 million clients.”
France’s actions are rather extreme, considering that the European Commission has advised member states to only ban “sharing economy” services like Uber and Airbnb as a last resort. Indirectly declaring support for the new kind of services.
French taxi driver unions, on the other hand, have hailed the ruling as a landmark decision against Uber.