The cab drivers attacked Uber cars carrying passengers - smashing windows, slashing tires, egging, and attempting to get inside.
One Uber driver, carrying Eventbrite CTO Renaud Visage & Kat Borlongan from the airport to Paris, was attacked by multiple assailants, who allegedly, after smashing one window and slashing two tires (as seen in the photo), as well as defacing one side of the car with glue, attempted to enter the vehicle. Borlongan says their Uber driver manoeuvered the two out of the situation before anything could happen, leaving the three stranded on the shoulder of the freeway.
Visage told The Verge that taxis blockaded one of the main highways from the airport, forcing cars to file through a single lane. When their van passed through the checkpoint, "three or four" men on each side started throwing rocks and paint at them, shattering the back window and leaving the passengers with cuts on their hands. At a second blockade, an assailant slashed the back tire, forcing them to pull off the road a few minutes later.
"They also tried to open the doors, but fortunately our driver had locked them," says Visage. He also said law enforcement was on-hand but did not intervene to stop the violence. "The police were there, but they were just watching," he said. "They were not actively doing anything."
Kat Borlongan tweeted about the incident saying, "Now on the shoulder of the freeway waiting for help, freezing and with my hand bleeding from the splintered glass. Thanks for the big welcome home, Paris."
Uber's GM of France Pierre-Dimitry Gore-Coty issued the following statement:
“Uber strongly condemns this morning’s incident where two of our users and our driver were confronted with severe violence.
First, we are very glad all involved are safe and ok. Also, we would like to praise our partner who has shown great courage and professionalism, who focused on getting his customers out of a very challenging situation.
That the taxis chose to use violence is unacceptable, that they chose to strike is their business. However, Parisians also have a choice when it comes to moving around in their cities, and today’s incident will certainly not tempt Parisians into choosing a taxi for their next ride. Safety, reliability and choice, not violence, are what continues to draw customers towards VTCs.”
Taxi cab drivers are protesting against regulations that allow Uber and other cab services to operate in the country. A decree was issued in December allowing independent operators to offer rides as long as they wait 15 minutes before picking up a passenger. That decree, which forces Uber drivers to wait 15 minutes, might be invalid since a Presidential decree cannot take affect if it changes the balance of competition. The Allocab startup says it will be pursing legal action to declare it invalid.
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