Paris Driver Attacked by Cabbies

edited February 3 in Paris
People often ask me, "what is it like to be an uber driver?"  I relate to them a few of my interesting experiences. But nothing compares to this Parisian driver's experience yesterday!  

Paris Cab 

Paris cab drivers weren't ready for the taste of freedom they got when they went on strike this week.  The thugs were so used to having a monopoly on automobile transportation that they went into a rage when Uber drivers started filling in the gaps after they went on strike. Paris cabbies were infuriated when they saw Uber drivers picking up passengers at the airport during their strike.  So infuriated in fact, that they physically and violently attacked an Uber car near Charles de Gaulle Airport yesterday morning.  They "smashed a window, damaged the car hood and slashed a tire" according to TechCrunch. Fortunately, no one was hurt, "but the attack was very violent" according to eyewitness Kat Borlongan.

TechCrunch reports that, "This morning hundreds of taxi drivers were protesting near Paris airports against urban transportation services, such as Uber, LeCab, Chauffeur-Privé, Drive, Snapcar and Allocab. They demand a series of laws due to unfair competition.  In France, you have to pay a hefty price to get your taxi license. According to them, being a black car driver is much more lucrative than being a taxi driver, and the government should address that."

What it is that Parisian cab drivers really can't stand is freedom!  They can't bear the thought of people actually having a choice between hailing a traditional cab on the street, or hailing a private car from their phones.  And like many Europeans, they despise competition. Although it's competition that brings better services, better prices and more choices to everyone.

Instead of attacking Uber drivers, maybe they should join them.  Although, I'm not sure Uber would would want them!


  • Hi.
    I'm a cabbie from Hamburg in Germay for allmost 37 years now.
    And I logged in here, because it is high time to tell you folks a couple of things.
    NO TAXIDRIVER in Europe is oldfashioned or unfriendly against any kind of competition!
    WE pioneered digital-car-distribution als early as 1995!
    We allready have a lot of competition, even between ourselfs! Every other taxidriver is my competitor!
    But most of all there are a steadily growing number of 'Rented cars with driver' or lots of Hotel-Shuttles.

    In Hamburg, we have a little company, which was just recently bought by Mercedes-Benz, which pioneered the taxidistribution via App WORLDWIDE (2009 they started under the brand 'One-Touch-Taxi' an changed it later to 'MyTaxi') and lots of taxidrivers, including me, were very happy to have a working tool against the mafia-like taxi-distributing companies!
    And all this ABSOLUTELY LEGAL!

    But companies like UBER, LYFT etc. are working in a shadowy illegal way. I saw the contracts, drivers habe to sign with RASIER or I saw the so-called-insurance-contract. So I really wonder, how a person, who can read and understand, can sign voluntarily such a shit!?

    UBER gave themself some kind of a SOCIAL image, because the drivers don't need to pay so much daily rent to a taxi-company, but now they themself are renting out cars!? Great!
    They are using their drivers as some kind of slaves! Just read in the Uber-driver-forums or on their FB-sites! Protests and demonstrations are common these days! Why that? Just because of the tip-problem?

    Bust worst of all are the people behind UBER! The Bank Goldmann Sachs should be totally banned from the minds of any free thinking US-citizen! Those guys drove millions of poorer people out of their homes into poverty! Do you like that? Is THAT freedom?
    NO, they are just MONEY JUNKIES on YOUR backs!

    I, never, would work for such a company!
  • Joern, regardless of whether or not I agree with the thinking, you were making good points until the last paragraph. Most Americans' eyes gloss over when the subject of investment banks' hold over so many aspects of our lives is brought up.

    JBNJ, I wonder if your position vis-a-vis "freedom!" became more nuanced after your well-publicized run in with the Port Authority Police?

    While I obviously see a market-based desire for Uber to exist in the US, and while I believe that in time the law will catch up with what the public clearly wants, there's no denying that Joern is correct when he describes our situation as "working in a shadowy illegal way." If you need convincing, just go read the posts about summonses being issued, or (cough) police staring down Uber drivers to intimidate them. (cough)

    In the TOS, Uber famously says in all caps that they are not a transportation company, and that we are "partners." This basically puts them in a role analogous to Napster in 1999: "Hey, we're not doing anything wrong. We're just providing a piece of software; if people use that software to do something illegal, that's not on us, Bro."

    And for our part, let's be honest. We're gypsy cabs with an iPhone app, nothing more. If that's the way the market's going, so be it. Personally, I'd rather ride with somebody conscientious who is driving their own halfway decent car than get into my local taxi company's overly Febreezed 1998 Ford Crown Victoria with bad alignment and a back seat that has more blown springs than good ones.

    But none of that makes what we're doing legal in the State of New Jersey right now.
  • edited September 9

    Digging your posts. Good to know there are people who can see more than one point of view and hold more than one opinion at a time.

    And I appreciate the honesty of your posts. Maybe some people were genuinely unaware but Some people are pretending that they don't know the legal issues of what we're doing. So they can keep crusading about Uber being some big bad wolf that is somehow forcing them to continue driving or extorting them. I didn't get tricked into anything. When I feel the bad outweighs the good. I'm done. Why? Simply because I'm the boss of me!

  • edited September 10
    Thanks for Your answers, guys.
    But if I'm going to work for a company, I usually have a closer look behind the scene of that firm. And if I see some really not so good folks standing und supporting them, I wouldn't work for them. I don't want to give my money to locusts like Goldman Sachs!
    Crusading against UBER & Co. is the false expression: They simply have to obey the rules, everybody has. And not only in Europe but in the States, too.
    Everybody want fairplay between partners!
    And if Mr. Kalanick calls as taxi-drivers globally 'Assholes', I think he better look into a mirror, because HE is the one, who lies to his drivers and even to his and your customers!
    If I read the contract, even the one customers have to sign, I believe that nearly NOBODY really read that but just clicked on 'Agree' without knowing, what ever they signed there!
    And in case something happens, like an accident for example, they will wake up quite harshly, because UBER denies any responsability!

    In Germany, and everywhere in Europe, the customer inside an UberPop (the European equivalent of UberX) is allways insured, but the company will claim that money back from the driver, because he had no transportation-insurance, whitch is far more expensive, than that of a private car.
    So the driver can be instantly in hell!
    Is that freedom? Surely not.

    Are you sure to be your own boss?
    You need money, too, to survive, and that has to come from someone else, and so you HAVE to work for other people, who, in fact, are your bosses because you rely on them! You have to pay for your food, your car, your house and a family!
    Only an oldfashioned Mountain Man can be his own boss, but normal people not! That is a dream to soften their vulnarability in a society like ours!

    I was my own taxi-boss (with just one car) for about 5 years, but that was in fact like slavery: I had to work 24/7 to meet my bills, my circle of friends deterriorated and my family got broke! Great.
    Now I'm employed, but life is far easier and normalised to a 10 hour shift on 5 days a week. Never on saturdays and sundays! I can have holidays, too (very often renting an RV in the US) and I get paid my salary during those days! I'm health- and retirement-insured in a good way. So what?

    OK, I have to admit, that the taxi-system in the States is very different from ours in Europe. NOBODY over here has to pay something in advance to the medallion-owner, neither rent nor gas!
    My car-owner has to pay for that. I have to hunt for customers and get a share of that money I make with them. For example: I get 43% of the money I make, before taxes and insurances. But the owner has to pay parts of the insurances, too.

    What is with UBER? Have they some kind of an insurance-policy for the benefits of their drivers?
    OK, they claim not to have any driver, but, according to the drivers-net-sites, they are in fact employed and WORKING for UBER to make their living. That gives UBER some kind of responsability, too!
    Is Mr. Kalanick feeling to be responsable for you?
    He makes easy money while you hit the streets and facing the risks!

  • Joern, it's been way too long, but I've been to Germany, France, the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, etc. back when I was in my 20's and used to tour with rock bands. The taxi industry in Western Europe is a very far cry from what we have here in the US. I don't know what the reasons are that Europeans would choose Uber over the regular taxis, but here it's pretty obvious: trustworthy standardized rates, better car conditions, and drivers who seem to care a bit more than some of the taxi drivers here.

    The US isn't Germany, and vice versa; our economy supports the largest military in the world, and so  we can't afford many of the features and benefits that Western European countries enjoy. (I tried to say that in as politically neutral a way as possible - please, don't let me encourage any of you to follow this up with rants in favor or against that point.)

    I'm very happy that you're happy with your situation. However, I know first-hand what it's like to be in a highly regulated, somewhat traditional industry, and watch it change before your eyes. (In my case it was insurance sales.)  That's what's happening here with Uber, and I get the feeling it's the same in France. These are deep cultural discussions that we must have, and I imagine it will play out very differently in different countries, states, cities, etc.  In the US, Uber is still in the Wild West phase. In 5 years things will look very different.
  • edited September 10

    In the instance that you are referring to I did not say I was my own boss. I said "I'm the Boss of me". Sounds similar, but is a bit different than what you thought I was saying.
    It's an American phrase/joke that means nobody tells me what to do. Lost in translation I guess. I was using it to mean that I can quit whenever I feel like it because I use my own mind to make my own decisions and take responsibility for myself and my choices. Never expecting anyone else to do it for me.

    However, I do not agree with your assertion that because I get money from other people I am an employee. Even a "mountain man" could not get "money" without exchanging some good or service with others to receive it. Even if he was a gold miner he'd would still have to buy tools in an exchange with another human. That's an economy. We all rely on other humans to supply what we don't have and I never said that was a bad thing. But acting like we don't have choices and options is what I'm speaking about. I do whatever I want whenever want and don't rely on anyone to tell me when and where. There are consequences to every action I make and only I can decide if it's worth it. If people hate Uber more than they like Uber they should FIRE Uber. Just get them out of your life. Because you are the boss of you. Not the people who you get money from.

    My comments were not directed at you so I apologize that it may have seemed that way based on when I wrote them in relation to yours.

    I don't want to give my money to locusts like Goldman Sachs!I agree with some of your points."

    Uber is no worse than the companies you spend money on everyday. While you're looking up Uber's funding (and I recommend we all do), be sure that you look into to the companies behind the food you eat and the gas you buy too. Let's be real.

    I spent most of my life being so anti-everything that I never spent any energy towards what I was actually for. If you really hate these companies so much, head for the mountains my friend, better yet another planet, because as depressing as it is,
    one way or another., you give them your money everyday. Keep it real.

    "I know first-hand what it's like to be in
    a highly regulated, somewhat traditional industry, and watch it change
    before your eyes."

    I am currently in another industry where the same thing is happening. And guess what I'm doing? Figuring out how to adapt. It involves things I don't know about and don't like, but that's life. The old model of everything is dying. Isn't that part of the game? Isn't that part of life in general? Adapt or die.

    Taxi drivers are pissed everywhere and I feel for them to some degree, human to human. But Uber didn't pop up in a vacuum. It's grown so rapidly that it may feel that way. But the truth is, traditional taxi service has created the need. People have been ready for this for decades. Taxis were just the only game in town so they got lazy and took advantage of the customer, completely forgetting about service. And then have the nerve to be looking for a tip. The fare is for the labor/trip. A tip is a thank you for good service. A taxi company's task is not to try and fight Uber but to provide a reason for customers to return. Simple as that.

    Taxi drivers are complaining and blaming Uber and Lyft but the one thing they are not doing is something different. They're not asking customers "what so cool about it? why don't people like taxis? How can I improve and compete?" (yes, back to my personal responsibility thing). Have they even taken a ride to see the difference for themselves? Doubt it. It's just the same old thing. Complain and keep doing the same things the same way. All the while pointing the finger. Blaming everyone but themselves. The taxi companies are doing the same thing. And with their collective resources nationwide they could figure out a way to adapt.  I bet these guys wouldn't have been complaining if they were a new cab driver back when cars put horse and buggy owners out of business. They would've got on the new and improved wave like we are. They would've adapted and understood the need to. I'm not anti-taxi. I only want taxis to go away if they can't figure out how to provide a comparable service. Step your game up. People don't really want Uber to comply with the law as much as they just want them to go away. Whatever they comply with people will still complain.
  • edited September 15
    @odone20, you said, "JBNJ, I wonder if your position vis-a-vis "freedom!" became more nuanced after your well-publicized run in with the Port Authority Police?"

    No, not really.  My comment about freedom was in relation to free markets and competition.  I believe companies like Uber should be allowed to start up and I believe local governments need to keep their hands off as much as possible.  Governments have told us for decades that it simply wouldn't be possible to get a safe, clean, pleasant cab ride unless they had their hands in the till.  And all that has done is create government- sponsored monopolies that are completely unaccountable to the public they're supposed to serve.

    We see the results of all their helpful regulations.  You get crappy cars with smelly drivers who are rude as hell (not all, but a lot).  Then Uber comes along, completely unregulated and gives people very nice cars, great drivers and lower prices!

    That's what I meant by my comment on freedom.  When government over regulates things go to crap.  When they keep their hands off it's amazing how well private companies can do things on their own.

    With that said though, Uber has stunned me with its reckless disregard of even the sensible laws.  Like the law that drivers have to be covered in case of accidents, so the driver and passenger will be protected financially.  The fact that they flagrantly ignore those sensible regulations just amazes me.

    It doesn't seem like it should be that difficult or expensive for them to conform to most of these laws.  Like would it really hurt them in NJ to set up a limousine base so all the drivers and their cars could be properly licensed and registered?  That way we wouldn't have to worry about cops stopping us while we perform a service that is obviously for the public good.  Why should we be made to feel like criminals because we go to the airport to pick up a passenger who's just looking for a safe, clean and cheap ride home!?  And all it would take is for Uber to set up a limo base that can sponsor drivers and their cars for the proper limo car registration.  Much, much smaller companies have done it.  Why can't Uber do it?
  • Great points and well put, jbnj!
    What do you think is the hold up with the NJ base? That would be huge.
  • Hey sorry sunstormr, just now getting back to this conversation!  I have no idea what the hold up is.  Well, I don't think there's a hold up - I think they just don't want to do it.  Or maybe the laws don't make sense for their specific scenario.  For instance the NJ law says that in order to be setup as a limousine base, you have to have a building and parking area for all your cars.  But Uber doesn't have any cars.  So maybe they can't do it right now until the law catches up. 
Sign In or Register to comment.