Uber and authorities in France are heading for a bit of a fight following new laws in the country requiring that car services need to wait a minimum of 15 minutes after receiving a pickup request or reservation before they can actually pick up fares. The point of contention here, though, is that licensed cabs aren't subject to the same set of rules, which is striking some as an arbitrary ruling that favors traditional cab operations over car-sharing services.
Naturally, Uber, along with its French competitors, aren't going to take this lying down, as The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the matter is being appealed to France's highest administrative court. "It's an effort by the government to slow down innovation to preserve the interests of traditional companies," argues Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber's boss in France and Northern Europe. "We feel good about our chances of blocking it."
The taxi companies, though, have some ground to stand on as well: "These car services are doing the same work as taxis, but without the same constraints. It's unfair competition," Alain Griset, chairman of the Union Nationale des Taxis said. "There need to be different rules because they are different forms of transport."
Griset may have a point – pre-arranged cars ordered via smartphone apps probably haven't been great for traditional cabbies – but as we're reading it, this new arrangement doesn't seem any more fair than the old rules. And it also doesn't account for consumers who, knowing the 15-minute rule, might just order their rides a bit earlier than before.
We'll be keeping an eye on this legal tussle, if only to see how it might eventually impact ride-sharing legislation in the US. Stay tuned.