A French court has fined Uber 800,000 euros and two of the company’s executives were handed smaller fines for running an illegal taxi service with non-professional drivers.
Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Thibaud Simphal, the company’s manager in France, were found guilty of deceptive commercial practices and being accomplices in operating an illegal transportation service and violating privacy laws.
Gore-Coty was fined 30,000 euros and Simphal 20,000 euros. In each case half of the fine was suspended and the other half would be imposed if there were a repetition of the offence. The fine against the company had the same stipulations.
The case centred on the now closed UberPOP, which used anyone with a car who signed on to its smartphone app.
UberX still operates in France. It is staffed by professional drivers.
The court said in its ruling that UberPOP had caused “disruption” to the transport sector, provoking sometimes violent protests by taxi drivers that had disturbed public order.
A lawyer for two taxi drivers’ unions hailed the ruling as “a landmark decision”.
UberPOP has also been declared illegal by courts in Italy, Spain and Germany, and appeals are pending in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Through complaints Uber has prompted the European Commission to challenge a French law that restricts chauffeured car services. Among other things they have to return to a base between fares and which restricts their use of software to find customers in the street.