Uber France suspends car sharing services after protests and arrests

UberPOP, which lets anyone become a driver, has been the focus of huge protests in Paris last week

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The Independent Tech

Uber has suspended one of its services in France, after huge protests that saw its cars flipped over and burnt by angry taxi drivers.

The company will stop running its UberPOP car sharing service in France at 8pm tonight, it has said. It follows a week that saw dramatic protests and the unrelated arrests of two of its executives.

UberPOP allows anyone to become a driver without a special license — and had been banned in many countries including France. Its other services like UberX, which works more like traditional taxis and requires that people have a professional license, will continue to run.

The service had to stop because its drivers were being attacked, the CEO of its French business, Thibaud Simphal, told Le Monde. He said that UberPOP drivers made a relatively small amount of money and that cancelling the service would keep them safe from attacks — which raged last week and even saw Courtney Love’s driver get caught up in the protests.

"In the light of last week’s violence, we have today decided to suspend uberPOP, our ride sharing service, until September’s Constitutional Court decision," the company said in a statement. "It’s a tremendously sad day for our 500 000 French uberPOP passengers, as well as the drivers who used the platform. However, safety must come first."

The company said that it would work to get those 10,000 drivers that work as part of UberPOP back on the road. "Unfortunately, the current licensing process has become too much of an obstacle course," the company said.

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