Urban transportation company Uber found a neat way to keep UberPOP afloat in Paris. For the past few months, policemen have been tracking UberPOP drivers in order to fine them as the low-cost offering of the service was banned in December 2014. While the company never directly stated that it pays for these fines, a recent report from the New York Times clearly indicates that drivers have nothing to worry about, and that they should just come and talk to Uber representatives in Paris.
As a reminder, UberPOP is the European equivalent of UberX — anybody can become an UberPOP driver and use the Uber app to accept rides. As you don’t need a specific driver’s license to become an UberPOP driver, many taxi drivers saw the new service as unfair competition.
But in many cases, Uber didn’t take its drivers off the road. Instead, the police had to roam around the city and fine UberPOP drivers. And it’s easy to spot Uber drivers. If someone is driving a car near a train station, has a phone attached to the dashboard, and has a passenger in the backseat, there is a chance that they are an Uber driver. Many people around me have told me that UberPOP drivers now ask passengers to sit in the front seat.
Over the past few years, there have been many attempts to limit Uber’s entire business. The so-called ‘15-minute law‘ was supposed to give an edge to taxi drivers. One month later, the law was suspended.
After UberPOP’s launch, most taxi drivers were mainly raging against the new service. That’s why it is now on the brink of illegality or already illegal, depending on who you ask. But you can still easily order an UberPOP in the company’s app.
It is not very surprising to learn that the company is paying for these fines in France as it already paid for fines in many different places, such as the Netherlands, Charleston, Victoria and Burlington. But Uber is trying to stay low key on this front.
I contacted Uber for comment, a spokesperson didn’t directly confirm the New York Times report, but clearly hinted that the company was indeed paying for these fines. “We are and will always be supporting our drivers,” the spokesperson said.