UberPOP suspended in France after riots

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Uber has suspended its uberPOP service in France following riots by taxi drivers and the arrest of two of the company's executives.

The U.S. taxi app has clashed with the country's socialist government; last week, President Francois Hollande claimed that uberPOP was illegal and should be shut down.

UberPOP - a ride-sharing service -- is different to Uber's better-known taxi service, which requires driver to undergo training before they can pick up passengers.

In contrast, UberPOP drivers are not required to have any training or taxi license, and so can offer trips in their own cars at a cheaper rate. This has angered France's taxi drivers as they feel they are being undercut.

Last week, taxi drivers protested against the San Francisco-based start-up. Angry crowds set up blockades, set fire to tyres and overturned cars.

"In the light of last week's violence, we have today decided to suspend uberPOP," Uber said in a statement.

"It's a tremendously sad day for our 500,000 French uberPOP passengers, as well as the drivers who used the platform. However, safety must come first."

Uber said the taxi licensing system in France had become "too much of an obstacle."

In September, France's Constitutional Court will decide on whether a piece of legislation - known as the Thevenoud Law - should be implemented. It restricts the use of software to find passengers and bans unlicensed services, plus a host of other measures that would make uberPOP illegal.

While waiting for the decision, Uber said it would aim to get those driver affected by the uberPOP decision back on the roads.

"UberPOP has been an important source of income for the 10,000 drivers using the platform...So our priority now is to get these 10,000 partners back on the road as quickly as possible, potentially as licensed uberX drivers," the company said.

It added that uberPOP would disappear from the app in France, but the regular UberX service would continue as normal.

UberPOP is available in cities including Amsterdam and Brussels, although it is not in use in the U.K. or U.S.

In Europe, it has caused widespread controversy; it was temporarily banned in Germany and was outlawed in Italy.


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