France’s Conseil d’État suspended the controversial decree against urban transportation services like Uber and LeCab. As a reminder, since January 1, drivers have had to wait 15 minutes between the time a customer hails them and they let them in the car. But it created a competitive imbalance, that’s why the rule was just suspended — TechCrunch has confirmed with multiple services. The French authority will now have to state whether this law should be completely repealed.
In France, the cab industry is very regulated, and taxi licenses are hard to obtain. Over the past few years, the French government has been very understanding with cab drivers as they have the ability to block airports and city centers.
Many cab drivers started to consider LeCab, Chauffeur-privé, SnapCar, Allocab, Uber and countless of others as direct competitors — they wanted something from the government.
In December, the government created this 15-minute law — it had many enemies. In hindsight, suspending the rule might have been the plan all along. It was just a nice gesture for cab drivers.
The Competition Authority thought it was a bad idea. “This competitive imbalance is not necessary to protect the taxi monopoly on this market. Moreover, it potentially contradicts the objective to improve free traffic flow,” the report said.
Multiple transportation companies immediately contested the government’s decision and thought they had a good chance of winning.
SnapCar and Uber didn’t even try to comply with the rule. Others like Allocab and Chauffeur-privé complied — Allocab suffered from many cancellations and revenue dropped.
Finally, cab drivers weren’t even satisfied with the new rule. They protested to obtain a 30-minute delay, minimum fares of $82 (€60) and a driver recruitment ban — they even attacked Uber cars during the protest.
Now, urban transportation companies don’t have to comply with the 15-minute rule, Uber is getting even more aggressive in Paris with its new UberPOP service, and cab drivers plan to protest again in March and in April. In other words, everything is back to normal in France: startups iterate and cab drivers protest.
(Photo credit: Maxime Bonzi)