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Uber ordered to pay taxi drivers damages in France

By AFP - Sep 11,2021 - Last updated at Sep 11,2021

PARIS — A French court on Friday ordered ride-hailing service Uber to pay damages to taxi drivers whose business suffered from unlicensed competitors.

Uber France will have to pay 180,000 euros ($213,000) to 910 taxi drivers and their federation who brought a civil case against Uber for unfair competition, the court ruled.

The case centered on the activities in 2014 and 2015 of UberPop, a platform that brought together clients and unlicensed drivers.

The business, marketed as ride-sharing, sparked the ire of traditional taxi drivers who felt the new service was threatening their livelihoods with cheap fares.

They notably argued that non-professional drivers did not have to pay for training, or acquire a taxi licence which in Paris can cost more than 100,000 euros, allowing them to undercut taxis.

In December 2015, Uber France had lost its appeal against a guilty verdict by a criminal court for misleading commercial practices, and was ordered to pay a fine of 150,000 euros.

In its civil case decision on Friday, the court found that passing off untrained drivers as professionals hurt the image and the reputation of licensed taxi drivers.

The damages payout works out at 192 euros for each of the 910 drivers, and 5,000 euros for the Paris taxi drivers' federation.

Uber on Friday said that it has not been using unlicensed drivers in France since 2015, and that drivers now had to take the same tests as licensed taxi drivers.

"This is a good decision which will stop other platforms from providing illegal transport," taxi federation President Christophe Jacopin said of the verdict.

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