Starting January 1, Uber drivers in France will have to wait 15 minutes between receiving a reservation and actually picking up the customer.
The rule, reported by French newspaper Libération, is meant to “better distinguish the activity of these vehicles from that of taxis,” as only taxis have the right to drive around looking for customers, instead of taking reservations.
More simply, it’s designed to protect the legal monopoly of taxis by making services like Uber a lot slower and a lot less convenient.
The rule applies to non-taxi car services, called “voitures de tourisme” (VTC), including those operating under services like SnapCar and Chauffeur-prive.com, as well as Uber. It was signed by the Minister for Crafts, Trade, and Tourism, and the Minister of the Interior.
The taxi industry is strictly regulated in France. Getting a licence requires a lot of time and an upfront payment, according to Slashgear. In Paris, fares for specific times and areas
are determined by the government, and there are fewer taxis per capita than in London and New York.
Regulations for other car services are considerably less strict, according to
Autorité de la concurrence, which regulates competition and published a detailed analysis of the new rule and ultimately opposed it.
So it’s no surprise that services like Uber, which make finding and reserving a car much easier, have taken off in recent years. Since 2010, the number of VTC cars has jumped tenfold.
The Autorité de la concurrence argues that it “appears neither necessary nor proportionate” to the goal of serving the public interest.
Yan Hascoet, CEO of France’s Chauffeur-Prive, told the Agence France Presse the “decree is absurd, unjust, and incomprehensible, we will attack it, we have a good chance of winning,” according to Liberation.
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