Taxi drivers calling for Uber to be shut down protested across French cities on Thursday. In Lyon some 300 taxis converged on the Part Dieu train station, the site of Uber’s offices in the city.
Though the scenes were less dramatic than Paris, nine arrests were made.
Pascal Wilder, Secretary-General of the National Federation of Independent taxis explained that,” Uber provides employment to non-registered workers who take taxi driver’s work. So we want it to stop and unfortunately we had to demonstrate because all of the negotiations we have had with the government were unsuccessful.”
Though the ride-sharing service has been illegal in France since January, drivers face up to 2 years in jail and a hefty fine.
An Uber driver who chose to remain anonymous told euronews they provide a service when taxis will not.
“Take a taxi at midnight, try to find a taxi that accepts credit card payment or who agrees to do small runs or take you where you want to go or pick you up if you are sick at any place… Try to find it . You’ll see that it’s impossible to find a taxi. The taxi has become a luxury in the evening. “
Despite the ban on Uber, it claims to have 400,000 users in France, and the battle looks set to continue with a pro-Uber demonstration scheduled in Lyon for Sunday.