Uber suffers yet another setback in Europe with France's new "anti-Uber" law
In a move certain to make Travis Kalanick stare out a window while dispassionately smoking a long cigarette, France has passed a new law meant to make it harder for companies like Uber to convince potential riders that they should use a car-on-demand service instead of hailing a cab.
The law prevents ride-hailing services like Uber from sharing a driver's location with potential riders, which in turn stops those riders from summoning the car closest to them, with the hope that it will give French taxi companies a better shot at competing with all these goddamn apps. Who wants to risk waiting longer for an app-summoned driver when a taxi cab is right there?
As bad as that seems, the law could have been much worse: Engadget reports that it originally called for drivers working with on-demand services to return "home" after each ride, limiting their ability to drop off one passenger and pick up another who happened to be nearby, but the amendment was struck from the law right before it was voted on and made official Thursday.
Uber hasn't been able to catch a break in Europe. First it was banned in Germany after the nation's taxi group said that its drivers were violating regulations. Then it was told it could operate in the country even though it really is violating the rules. Now it has to spar with France over a law that was written with the express intent of crippling many ride-on-demand services.
These international problems came in addition to Uber's struggles in the United States, where drivers around the country have been protesting in search of everything from increased fares to changes in the company's vehicle classification system to autonomy around deciding which tier of rider to pick up. That last issue was resolved when Uber backed down from the change, but for a while, some threatened to leave the service to drive for a near-identical competitor, Lyft.
I don't know if those woes are enough to make Kalanick act out the existential drama of the stereotypical French film, but they're certainly enough to put a damper on a company that is working so hard to take over the world and slaughter the taxi industry along the way.
[Illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]