French Police Raid Uber Offices

 The Uber app offers a range of transport services, some of which France has made illegal.
The Uber app offers a range of transport services, some of which France has made illegal.

French police have raided the Paris offices of the taxi app firm Uber as part of ongoing investigations into its UberPOP peer-to-peer ride-sharing service.

The investigation, at the behest of Paris’ prosecutors office, comes after France’s interior ministry vowed to ban the app from 1 January 2015.

The UberPOP service, unlike other models of service on the app, connects non-professional drivers with users at a lower price. In France, the base rate (minimum fare) is set at just 1€ (72p).

The service uses non-professional drivers who may not be licensed or insured, raising safety concerns. Some have poor local knowledge so potentially offer a poor customer experience.

Uber France boss Thibaud Simphal called the raid a “disproportionate action carried out on a very fragile legal basis” in comments to L’Orbs magazine.

Uber says the firm is creating jobs (founder Travis Kalanick has pledged to create 50,000 in Europe, and 1 million jobs for women by 2020) and that competition is good for the industry.

Uber defines UberPOP as a ride-sharing service – similar to rival app Lyft – but the fact that money changes hands and the user sets the destination rather undermines that definition.

In October 2014 the firm was fined €100,000 (£72,000) by a Paris court for “deceptive practices” in relation to its advertising and promotion.

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SOURCE: The Guardian, Hannah Jane Parkinson