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Paris Olympics: Uber unveils plans to address soaring demand this summer

Uber unveiled a campaign for the Paris Olympics on Wednesday May 29 2024
Uber unveiled a campaign for the Paris Olympics on Wednesday May 29 2024 Copyright Gene J. Puskar/Copyright 2017 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Gene J. Puskar/Copyright 2017 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Sophia Khatsenkova
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The American ride-hailing giant plans to mobilise more drivers this summer to meet strong demand while promising to contain price surges. However, some Uber drivers feel insufficient measures have been taken, with unions hinting at possible strikes.

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Uber, the ride-hailing app, announced a list of measures to meet the explosive demand during the upcoming Paris Summer Olympics on Wednesday. 

A major concern for residents and tourists during the much-anticipated sporting event will be navigating the French capital this summer, as 15 million visitors are expected to strain the public transport networks.

After many rounds of negotiations, Uber said it obtained the right to circulate in some of the most restricted areas of Paris, previously reserved for taxis.

These zones include blue and red areas for picking up or dropping off customers and grey areas for drivers assisting people with mobility issues.

These are the restricted zones during the Paris Summer Olympics
These are the restricted zones during the Paris Summer OlympicsPrefecture de Police Paris

The company expects a record of 40,000 drivers to provide rides on its platform during the Olympics

However, Uber drivers will not be able to use the "Olympic lanes" referring to the 185 kilometres of roads around Paris reserved for delegations, taxis, buses, and journalists - a major disappointment for both the Uber drivers and the company.

"We really feel a discrimination between ride-hailing apps and taxis," said Karim Daoud, President of the Union representing ride-hailing drivers in France (AVF). 

"Without these reserved lanes, it's going to be very difficult for us to get around. I'm afraid that a lot of drivers will throw in the towel," he told Euronews. 

Mr Daoud hinted at the possibility of a strike of Uber drivers during the sporting event: "We reserve the right to hold protests. That's still on the agenda but we advocate for some sort of dialogue first." 

On the passenger side, Uber promises to contain the surge in prices. Despite the millions of visitors expected in Paris this summer, the price surge will be limited to “10 to 15%”, assured Laureline Serieys, the General Manager of Uber in France. 

Fares for journeys to and from Paris airports and train stations will be reduced by 10% during the period and the price for the ride-sharing option UberShare will be slashed by 30% during the whole sporting event. 

Two new experiences: Trip around Champagne region and river cruise

During the summer season, Uber will also offer two new experiences to its users. The first, “Uber Bubbles”, will allow four people to book an excursion in an electric Tesla vehicle to the Champagne region. 

Customers will have two champagne tastings and lunch for 200 euros in total for four people.

The second experience called “Uber Cruise” will allow customers to book a river cruise on the Seine with a skipper. There will be five boats available with multiple time slots per day.

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